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Chennai smog: Pollution trackers say air quality has worsened

Vinson Kurian Chennai | Updated on November 06, 2019

Photo: IMD   -  IMD website

The unhelpful wind pattern has allowed pollutants to drift in from the North and hang in the air in this otherwise easy-breathing city

Leading pollution trackers say Chennai’s air has deteriorated in quality since Tuesday. They only differ on exactly how much the air has worsened this Wednesday morning.

According to aqicn.org, the morning count of fine particles (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns) was 180, which is unhealthy, a pattern forecast to stay as such until the weekend. This makes the air unhealthy to breathe.

This is mainly in view of the unhelpful wind pattern, allowing pollutants to drift in from the North and hang in. To Chennai's misfortune, the winds continue to be stubbornly indifferent.

For any meaningful change in the wind pattern, the Bay of Bengal should blow in the seasonal easterlies to north-easterly winds.

But it has refused to oblige with winds in the waters being northerly to the West and southerly to the East thanks to a raging depression located too far away from the Chennai and Tamil Nadu coast to be of any consequence.

The Chennai Met Office of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday morning that the winds were north-westerly to northerly at around 8 am. Also, there was no perceptible movement on the surface, which allows the pollutants to hang in.

The Air Quality Index falls into six categories as follows:

Weather.com, an IBM Business, has a different and even worse take on the air quality by assessing the index at 284. It rated the air quality to be poor, indicating it may cause breathing discomfort for people with prolonged exposure, and discomfort for people with heart disease.

 

However, in a disclaimer, Weather.com says that neither the European Commission nor the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts is responsible for any use of this information.

WeatherBug assessed the air quality as being low with the index reading at 73. This, however, is an improvement over yesterday. But the tracker said that even in these conditions, people should minimise their time outdoors as much as possible.

Chennai’s bloggers and Twitteratti gave vent to their frustration at the city’s deteriorating air quality for a third morning on Wednesday:

Published on November 06, 2019

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