CHENNAI: Even as the time restriction for bursting crackers went for a toss, the air and noise pollution levels in Chennai were considerably lower this year.
While people burst fireworks throughout the day in many parts of the city, pollution levels were within safe limits for most parts of the day. It reached unhealthy levels only after evening. It remained high in many place until a little past midnight.
Factors which affect the air quality such as values of PM10 (particulate matter in the ambient air below the size of 10 microns), PM 2.5 (less than 2.5 microns), SO2 (sulphur dioxide) and NO2 (nitrogen oxide) in the monitoring stations in Chennai were considerably low this year when compared with 2019 levels, according to a report by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).
The PM10 results ranged from 52 to 111 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) during Deepavali day against the prescribed standard of 100. The PM 2.5 results ranged from 32 to 59 μg/m3 of air against the prescribed standard of 60, says a report.
The gaseous pollutants, Sulphur- di-oxide (SO2) and Nitrogen- di-oxide (NO2) were found to be well within the prescribed standards as well.
The report said that the air quality index in major residential areas of the city such as Thiruvallikeni was "moderate", in Sowcarpet (commercial) "satisfactory" and in Besant Nagar, T Nagar and Nungambakkam "good".
On ambient noise, the report said that it ranged from 71 to 78 dB on Deepavali, while it ranged from 54 to 69 decibel (dB) during pre-Deepavali (November 9). However it was significantly lesser compared to 2019, the report said.
The considerable reduction of pollution level and noise level was mainly due to the public co-operation as per the directions of the Supreme Court on reducing fireworks, the report said adding that awareness among the public due to COVID-19 was also a factor attributed to the decrease in pollution level.
'Less burn injury cases reported this year'
Deepavali often keeps doctors busy with patients presenting with burn injuries. Three government hospitals together treated over 30 cases on Deepavali day. "The number of burn injuries sustained while bursting crackers have come down this year," say doctors. Kilpauk Medical College Hospital which set up a special ward for burn injuries treated seven patients. The Government Stanley Medical College Hospital treated 25 burn injury cases.