Chennai, 29 January 2018: Launching Chennai’s first citizen-led real time air quality monitoring network, founder and trustee of Delhi-based Lung Care Foundation Dr. Arvind Kumar said data from Chennai’s new “Atmos” monitors reveal that Chennai residents are breathing unhealthy air most days in a given month. The data revealed that between January 1 and January 23, daily averages of the levels of the dangerous PM2.5 in Kuruvimedu (Vallur), Kodungaiyur, Anna Salai at Teynampet and Mugatwarakuppam in Ennore ranged from unhealthy to hazardous for more than 80 percent of time. Air quality in Eldams Road near Teynampet was better with 10 days out of 16 daily measurements revealing air quality within the 24-hour Indian PM2.5 standard of 60 micrograms (ug)/m3. None of the locations had any day where air quality was within the more stringent World Health Organisation (WHO) 24-hour standard of 25 ug/m3. All locations recorded hazardous levels (above 180 ug/m3) of PM2.5 on 13 January, the day of Bhogi festival.
A joint project of Chennai-based Huma Lung Foundation and The Other Media’s Healthy Energy Initiative, and Mumbai-based UrbanSciences, the citizen air monitoring exercise will display its results on the website atmos.urbansciences.in/dashboard. The website will continuously report readings of PM2.5 from the five locations. Dr. Hisamuddin Papa, a leading pulmonologist who is leading the effort in Chennai, has installed one monitor atop his hospital in Teynampet, and has urged medical institutions and media houses to also invest in the Rs. 15,000 easy-to-operate air quality monitors.