Chennai Air Quality

The city of Chennai is a home to two functional coal-fired thermal power plants, coal ash ponds, three ports, fertiliser manufacturing industries, pharmaceutical companies, oil storage terminals, coal storage yards, foundries, automobile manufacturers, cement manufacturers, construction works & two huge garbage dumping sites. In addition to the functional industrial hub, the region is also burdened with round the clock plying of heavy diesel vehicles, domestic vehicles & re-suspended road dust particles from potholes-laden roads.

Air Pollution

Air pollution occurs when gases, dust particles, fumes or smoke (or odour) are introduced into the atmosphere in a way that makes it harmful to humans, animals or plants. Examples of pollutants include oxides of nitrogen and sulphur, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, dust particles, and volatile organic compounds.

 

Particulate Matter

Particulate Matter (PM) − also called particle pollution is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets (aerosols) found in the air.

Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected under the microscope.

 

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that contain carbon and can quickly turn into vapours or gases. These VOCs can be released by a number of products or items in everyday life. The simplest way to determine the presence of VOCs in the air is through their distinct odours.

 

Regular Air Quality (AQ) monitoring helps in:

  • Determining the quality of ambient air.
  • Comparing the AQ data with prescribed standards and assess the level of pollution.
  • Facilitating regulatory authorities to take proactive measures to control pollution and protect the public from any extreme events like gas leaks.
  • Understanding the nature, sources, occurrences and patterns of pollution.
  • Establishing relations between air pollution and health concerns reported by the people in polluted regions.

Air Quality Index (AQI) and associated impacts:

Air Quality Index (AQI) is a tool for effective dissemination of air quality information to the public. The air quality index is calculated with 8 pollutants namely PM10, PM2.5, Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Ozone (O3), Ammonia (NH3), and Lead (Pb). The AQI are classified into six categories as good, satisfactory, moderate, poor, very poor and severe.

The AQI values and corresponding ambient PM2.5 concentrations with the associated health impacts are as follows:

AQI with PM2.5 Concentrations and Associated Health Impacts