Tamil Nadu: Pollution Control Board uses outdated devices, blames pollution on weather

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Tamil Nadu: Pollution Control Board uses outdated devices, blames pollution on weather

According to Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Chennai air was four times more polluted than last year but the environmentalists claim otherwise.

It has been two days since Diwali got over in Tamil Nadu, but the pollution results are still alarming as environmentalists warn about after-effects that could be felt soon.

According to Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), the Chennai air was four times more polluted than last year. The data released by TNPCB showed that weather discrepancies led to higher value of Particulate Matter (PM10).

But, environmental activist Nityanand Jayaraman said, "What is weird is TNPCB blamed it on weather. Yes, the weather discrepancies can cause changes but if weather is the only issue then why are we paying Pollution Control Board. They should have done their job properly."

TNPCB reports said that Sowcarpet area in Chennai was the worst affected with 777 PM10 compared to 178 PM10 last year. The second worst affected area was Triplicane with 597 PM10 compared to 117 PM10 last year. However, environmentalists are blaming that TNPCB is using an outdated monitoring machine for measuring air quality. "PM 10 are primarily large dust particles and also include PM 2.5. But, PM 2.5 is the pollutant of concern which goes deep inside the lungs affects. It contains class one carcinogen. PM 10 is history. Tamil Nadu pollution Control Board is way behind in times."

However, private agencies - Healthy energy initiative, Urban Sciences and India spend shared the data installed using PM2.5 monitors in Chennai which showed accurately the alarming state of air pollution. Activist Seher explained, "It measures air quality accurately. We found out that Teynampet area measured 1541 PM2.5, but, Tamil Nadu pollution control did not use it."

While we could not reach anyone in TNPCB, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said that there has not been alarming increase in patients coming with respiratory problems. "Everything was under control. Not many burst crackers in the early morning. We don't have reports of increase in patients," he said.

Environmentalists opined that five years ago state government effectively campaigned against bursting of crackers. But, this year government and NGOs did not aggressively campaign leading to this situation.