CHENNAI:Thoothukudi is the sole city from Tamil Nadu which figures in the list of 100 cities that have been found by Union Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to have high levels of air pollution with the presence of Particulate Matter (PM) 10, Sulphur di-oxide (SOs) and Nitrogen di-oxide (NO2).
The city has a lot of red industries as a result of which the PM 10 — tiny airborne particles seven times finer than human hair–exceeds national standards (60 micrograms per cubic metre, or µg/m³) by around 200 per cent. Environmentalists blame public and private coal-fired thermal power plants, copper smelter and chemical industries for polluting the air quality of Thoothukudi.
According to a study ‘Assessment of Air Quality Index for Cities and Major Towns in Tamil Nadu’ published in Journal of Civil and Environmental Engineering on March 2018, the air quality index of Thoothukudi is in the range of 25-167 and the cause of high level of PM10 is due to the presence of major power plants, copper smelter plant, fertiliser plant and other units.
The city is termed one of the Non-attainment cities by Ministry of Environment primarily on the basis of excess PM10 under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Program (NAMP), which monitors PM10, SO2 and NO2 parameters.
Initially, 94 non-attainment cities were identified for formulation of action plans. State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) have been asked to prepare city-specific plans.About 30 per cent of the respiratory diseases are related to personal exposure to high level ambient PM concentrations. PM10 can be breathed into the lungs, and therefore, its health effects are more severe than large particles.
Who is to be blamed?
Environ-mentalists blame public and private coal-fired thermal power plants
The city has a lot of red industries as a result of which PM 10 — tiny particles seven times finer than human hair
of the respiratory diseases are related to personal exposure to high level ambient PM concentrations