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| Last Updated:: 16/03/2017

Air Pollution

Air Pollution
Air Pollution in Tamil Nadu  
 
1. Introduction
Air pollution is defined as the introduction of particulates, biological molecules, or other harmful materials into the Earth's atmosphere, possibly that cause disease, death to humans, damage to food crops, or the natural or built environment. Stratospheric ozone depletion due to air pollution has long been recognized as a threat to human health as well as to the Earth's ecosystems. Indoor air pollution and urban air quality are listed as two of the world’s worst toxic pollution problems.    
 
One of the formal definitions of air pollution is as follows:-
"The presence in the atmosphere in the atmosphere of one or more contaminants in such quality and for such duration as is injurious, or tends to be injurious, to human health or welfare, animal or plant life".  It is the contamination of air by the discharge of harmful substances.  Air pollution can cause health problems and it can also damage the environment and property.  It has caused thinning of the protective ozone layer of the atmosphere, which is leading to climate. 
 
2.  Causes of pollution         
There are various activities or factors which are responsible for releasing pollutants into the atmosphere.  These sources can be classified into two major categories.   
 
2.1. Anthropogenic (man-made) sources:
These are mostly due to the burning of multiple types of fuel. Anthropogenic sources include the following:
                 Stationary sources include stacks of power plants, manufacturing factories, waste incinerators, furnaces and other types of fuel-burning devices. In less developed countries traditional biomass burning is the major source of air pollutants; Traditional biomass includes wood, crop waste and cow-dung. 
Mobile Sources include vehicles, marine vessels, and aircrafts. Fumes from paint, hair spray, varnish, aerosol sprays and other solvents also contribute towards air pollution. Waste deposition in landfills; generate methane during the breakdown of compounds. Methane being highly flammable and forms explosive mixtures with air. Methane is also an asphyxiant and displaces oxygen in an enclosed space. 
Military resources, such as nuclear weapons and toxic gases are also key sources of air pollution. 
 
2.2. Natural sources:
Dust from natural sources, mostly large areas of land with few or no vegetation. Radon gas from radioactive decay within the Earth's crust. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive noble gas that is formed from the decay of radium. It is considered to be a health hazard. Radon gas from natural sources can accumulate in buildings, especially in confined areas is the one of the most frequent cause of lung cancer. Smoke and carbon monoxide from wildfires Volcanic activity, produces sulfur, chlorine, and ash particulates. A pollutant can be of natural origin or man-made. Pollutants are classified as primary or secondary.  
            Primary pollutants are usually produced from a process, such as ash from a volcanic eruption. Other examples include carbon monoxide gas from motor vehicle exhaust, or the sulfur dioxide released from factories. 
            Secondary pollutants are not emitted directly. Rather, they form in the air when primary pollutants react or interact. Ground level ozone is a prominent example of a secondary pollutant. Some pollutants may be both primary and secondary: they are both emitted directly and formed from other primary pollutants.  In India the Major source of air pollution include Fuel wood and biomass burning in rural and urban India, Most of India uses Fuel wood and biomass cakes for cooking and general heating needs. Cook stoves using biomass are present in over 100 million Indian households, and are used two to three times a day. Majority of Indians still use traditional fuels such as dried cow dung, agricultural wastes, and firewood as cooking fuel. 
 
3. Major primary pollutants produced by human activity include
                a) Sulphur oxides (SOx) - particularly sulfur dioxide, a chemical compound with the formula SO2 is produced by volcanoes and various industrial processes. Coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, and their combustion releases sulfur dioxide. Further oxidation of SO2, usually in the presence of a catalyst such as NO2, forms H2SO4, and leads to the formation of acid rain. 
                b) Nitrogen oxides (NOx)-Nitrogen oxides, particularly nitrogen dioxide, are expelled from high temperature combustion, and are also produced during thunderstorms by electric discharge. It is a chemical compound with the formula NO2. It is one of  the most prominent air pollutants. 
                c) Carbon monoxide (CO)- CO is also a toxic gas. It is a product by incomplete combustion of fuel such as natural gas, coal or wood. Vehicular exhaust is a major source of carbon monoxide. 
                d) Volatile organic compounds - VOCs are a well-known outdoor air pollutantThey are categorized as either methane (CH4) or non-methane (NMVOCs).Methane is a greenhouse gas which has contributed to enhance global warming. The aromatic NMVOCs such as benzene, toluene and xylene are suspected carcinogens and may lead to leukemia with prolonged exposure. 
                e) Particulate Matter: Particulates, alternatively referred to as particulate matter (PM), atmospheric particulate matter, or fine particles, are particles of solid or liquid suspended in a gas.Aerosols In contrast, aerosol refers to combined particles and gas. They can occur naturally, from volcanoes, dust storms, forest fires, and sea spray. Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, power plants and industrial processes also generate significant amounts of aerosols. 
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) - harmful to the ozone layer. These are gases which are released from airconditioners, refrigerators. CFC's on being released into the air rises to stratosphere and react with other gases and damage the ozone layer. This allows harmful ultraviolet rays to reach the earth's surface causing skin cancer and diseases to the eye. 
 
4. Secondary pollutants include:
Particulates created from gaseous primary pollutants are called secondary pollutants. Smog is a kind of secondary air pollution. Smog results from large amounts of coal burning in an area caused by a mixture of smoke and sulfur dioxide. Smog also comes from vehicular and industrial emissions that are acted on in the atmosphere by ultraviolet light from the sun to form secondary pollutants that also combine with the primary emissions to form photochemical smog. 
a) Ground level ozone (O3) is formed from NOx and VOCs. Ozone (O3) is a key constituent of the troposphere. It is also an important constituent of certain regions of the stratosphere commonly known as the Ozone layer. 
b) Peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) – is also formed from NOx and VOCs. 
 
5. Status of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board is operating eight ambient air quality monitoring stations in Chennai under two monitoring programmes:   
 
 
Table 1. NATIONAL AIR QUALITY MONITORING PROGRAMME (NAMP)
 
   Status Of Air Quality Of Important Cities/Towns Of Tamilnadu – Under National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (Namp) Annual Average Concentrations Of Air Pollutants, 2011 – 2012 
 
 
 
S.
 
NO
 
City & Location
 
Category
 
Annual Average concentrations of Air Pollutants in µg/m3
 
SO
 
NO
 
RSPM
 
Max
 
Min
 
 Avg
 
 Max
 
 Min
 
 Avg
 
 Max
 
 Min
 
 Avg
 
 1
 
CHENNAI
a)
Kathivakkam
Industrial
48
10
22
64
13
27
363
39
132
b)
Manali
Industrial
46
9
20
68
11
26
152
26
70
c)
Thirvottiyur
Industrial
42
8
20
61
12
27
351
22
88
 
2
 
COIMBATORE
a)
G.D Matric school
Mixed
9
4
5
73
13
30
218
19
68
b)
Pooniyaraja
puram
Residential
13
4
5
76
13
29
273
11
68
C)
SIDCO
Industrial
8
4
5
111
9
35
443
20
205
 
 3
 
 THOOTHUKUDI
a)
Raja Agencies
Industrial
29
4
7
35
9
13
601
51
132
b)
AVM Buildings
Mixed
48
4
7
46
9
14
215
17
81
C)
SIPCOT
Industrial
23
4
9
34
9
15
437
26
112
 
4
 
 MADURAI
a)
M/S Susee Cars & Trucks (p) Ltd.,
Industrial
15
7
10
29
18
23
63
18
44
b)
Awai Girls Higher Secondary School
Mixed
22
5
11
43
16
24
137
26
46
C)
Highways project Buildings
Residential
17
6
10
27
16
24
89
28
47
 
 5
 
SALEM
a)
Sowdeswari College Building
Mixed
13
6
8
31
13
21
134
28
62
 
 
Prescribed Standard:
 
 
SO2
 
NOX
 
TSPM
 
RSPM
i) Industrial
 
80
 
80
 
360
 
120
II)Residential,Rural &other areas
 
60
 
60
 
140
 
60
Source: TNPCB Year book, 2011-2012  
 
5.1 CHENNAI AMBIENT AIR QUALITY MONITORING (CAAQM) PROGRAMME
Under NAMP three ambient air quality monitoring stations are functioning on 24 hours basis, twice a week.  The samples collected from NAMP stations are analysed for the Total Suspended Particulate Matter (TSPM), Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM).   (RSPM is particulate matter less than 10 microns) and gaseous pollutants such as Sulphur di oxide (SO2) and Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx).
Under CAAQM programme, TNPCB is operating five monitoring stations on 24 hours basis two stations per day on all working days. The pollutants measured in the CAAQM stations are Sulphur di oxide (SO2), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) and Total suspended particulate matter (TSPM) in all stations. 
The eight ambient air quality monitoring stations in Chennai are:
 Table 2. Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations
I
Kathivakkam (NAMP)
Industrial area
II
Manali (NAMP)
Industrial area
III
Thiruvottiyur (NAMP)
Industrial area
IV
Kilpauk (CAAQM)
Commercial (traffic inter-section
V
Thiyagaraya Nagar (CAAQM)
Commercial (traffic inter – section)
VI
Vallalar Nagar (CAAQM)
Commercial (traffic inter – section)
VII
Anna Nagar (CAAQM)
Residential area
VIII
Adyar (CAAQM)
Residential area
 
  
 
 
 
 
                                                     Source: Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board
 
The ambient air quality data collected from the above mentioned air quality monitoring stations (NAMP) indicate that all the parameters such as sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, total suspended particulate matter and respirable dust particulates are found to be well controlled in the industrial area die to the effective monitoring of  industrial source emissions by the TNPCB. 
 
In general, under CAAQM project the ambient air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are well within the standards in Chennai city limit, where as total suspended particulate matter and respirable suspended particulate matter (PM) levels exceeded the permissible limit at all stations except Adyar mainly due to the dust contributed by pipe line, telephone/electrical cable laying activities on the road and also due to the resuspension of traffic dust generated from automobile emissions and heavy vehicular traffic and pedestrian movement. 
 
 
Table 3. Status Of Air Quality Of Important Cities/Towns Of Chennai – Under Chennai Ambient Air Quality Monitoring (CAAQM) Programme Annual Average Concentrations Of Air Pollutants, 2013  & 2014
 
 
Month
Location
RSPM/PM10 µg/m3
SOµg/m3
NOX µg/m3
January 2013
Anna Nagar
113
14
32
 
T.Nagar
97
16
51
 
Adyar
75
5
16
 
Kilpauk
102
10
51
 
 
 
 
 
February 2013
Anna Nagar
120
9
30
 
T.Nagar
98
6
27
 
Adyar
50
7
20
 
Kilpauk
112
12
28
 
 
 
 
 
March 2013
Anna Nagar
138
6
26
 
T.Nagar
89
5
31
 
Adyar
44
5
23
 
Kilpauk
117
6
22
 
 
 
 
 
April 2013
Anna Nagar
105
9
22
 
T.Nagar
89
10
28
 
Adyar
38
8
20
 
Kilpauk
162
11
18
 
 
 
 
 
May 2013
Anna Nagar
147
11
28
 
T.Nagar
110
13
38
 
Adyar
50
10
22
 
Kilpauk
169
12
38
June 2013
Anna Nagar
125
12
26
 
T.Nagar
147
13
40
 
Adyar
49
10
30
 
Kilpauk
137
13
37
 
 
 
 
 
July 2013
Anna Nagar
159
12
36
 
T.Nagar
117
14
42
 
Adyar
50
12
19
 
Kilpauk
149
15
42
 
 
 
 
 
August 2013
Anna Nagar
104
12
23
 
T.Nagar
189
15
26
 
Adyar
46
11
16
 
Kilpauk
89
14
21
 
 
 
 
 
September 2013
Anna Nagar
77
12
16
 
T.Nagar
118
14
20
 
Adyar
47
11
16
 
Kilpauk
96
15
23
 
 
 
 
 
October  2013
Anna Nagar
96
14
18
 
T.Nagar
167
16
24
 
Adyar
50
12
16
 
Kilpauk
88
16
21
 
 
 
 
 
November 2013
Anna Nagar
91
13
19
 
T.Nagar
109
14
23
 
Adyar
69
12
18
 
Kilpauk
97
23
14
 
 
 
 
 
December 2013
Anna Nagar
79
15
19
 
T.Nagar
108
22
26
 
Adyar
63
14
20
 
Kilpauk
80
21
27
 
 
 
 
Month & Year
Location
RSPM/PM10 µg/m3
SOµg/m3
NOX µg/m3
January 2014
Anna Nagar
72
15
19
 
T.Nagar
103
21
27
 
Adyar
64
17
21
 
Kilpauk
80
23
26
 
 
 
 
 
February 2014
Anna Nagar
79
17
23
 
T.Nagar
98
26
31
 
Adyar
65
15
21
 
Kilpauk
91
23
30
 
 
 
 
 
March 2014
Anna Nagar
77
12
17
 
T.Nagar
100
17
23
 
Adyar
65
13
17
 
Kilpauk
94
17
24
 
 
 
 
 
April 2014
Anna Nagar
66
14
20
 
T.Nagar
113
19
26
 
Adyar
49
13
18
 
Kilpauk
85
19
26
 
 
 
 
 
May 2014
Anna Nagar
73
14
20
 
T.Nagar
115
18
29
 
Adyar
46
13
18
 
Kilpauk
76
20
28
 
June 2014
 
Anna Nagar
 
78
 
13
 
20
 
T.Nagar
109
18
31
 
Adyar
72
13
19
 
Kilpauk
103
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
July 2014
Anna Nagar
108
13
18
 
T.Nagar
106
17
29
 
Adyar
67
12
17
 
Kilpauk
131
18
30
 
 
 
 
 
August 2014
Anna Nagar
59
13
30
 
T.Nagar
132
16
44
 
Adyar
52
13
20
 
Kilpauk
81
17
25
 
 
 
 
 
September 2014
Anna Nagar
58
14
26
 
T.Nagar
76
19
31
 
Adyar
50
13
20
 
Kilpauk
67
19
26
 
 
 
 
 
October  2014
Anna Nagar
51
13
23
 
T.Nagar
76
18
28
 
Adyar
53
13
19
 
Kilpauk
74
16
24
 
 
 
 
 
November 2014
Anna Nagar
68
14
22
 
T.Nagar
97
18
28
 
Adyar
51
14
19
 
Kilpauk
93
19
27
 
 
 
 
 
December 2014
Anna Nagar
66
16
21
 
T.Nagar
96
21
29
 
Adyar
51
14
20
 
Kilpauk
78
20
27
Source: Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board
 
6.  Action Taken to Prevent Air Pollution in Tamil Nadu
(a)   Industrial Pollution 
 The salient features of actions taken to control industrial pollution are as follows:
·         No new polluting units are permitted within the city.
·         No new incinerators are permitted within the city, old incinerators being phased out.
·         Common facilities are set up outside the city for incineration of Bio-medical Waste.
·         The industries have been directed to develop a green belt of minimum 33% of the project area.
·         Green belt is also being developed by industries on road sides as avenue plantations.
·         Renewal of the consent is based on compliance with this condition
·         Periodic inspection of industrial units is to be fitted with online stack monitor connected to the pollution control board – CARE Air centre. 
(b)   Vehicular Pollution
The salient features of action taken to control vehicular pollution are as follows:
·         Bharat Stage –II norms have been implemented for the registration of new passenger car from 1-7-2011.
·         Emission norms for in-use vehicles in consultation with MoRTH & MoEF have been implemented in Chennai city for all vehicles from 1-1-1997.
·         Catalytic Converter fitted passenger car have been registered since, 1997.
·         Periodic inspection of in use vehicles in Chennai is conducted by the officials of transport Department and Police Department.
·         Supply of Unleaded petrol from February 2000.
·         In Chennai City Low sulphur diesel (0.05%) is supplied since 1-7-2001.
·         Supply of Pre-mixed 2T oil since 1-4-2002
·         Entry of heavy vehicles is restricted by the road in Chennai city during peak hours.
·         Ring Road have been constructed to avoid the entry of intercity vehicles in the city.
·         Mass transport system (metro Rail) from Beach to Velachery is completed.
·         iscal Measures like structuring parking fees and road tolls has been implemented.
                                            Source: Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board
 
 
Month & Year
Location
RSPM/PM10 µg/m3
SOµg/m3
NOX µg/m3
January 2015
Anna Nagar
66
17
23
 
T.Nagar
89
22
28
 
Adyar
51
13
19
 
Kilpauk
71
21
26
 
 
February 2015
Anna Nagar
63
18
24
 
T.Nagar
81
21
27
 
Adyar
48
16
22
 
Kilpauk
67
20
27
 
 
March 2015
Anna Nagar
70
18
24
 
T.Nagar
86
21
27
 
Adyar
50
16
21
 
Kilpauk
71
19
25
 
 
April 2015
Anna Nagar
70
15
20
 
T.Nagar
70
18
22
 
Adyar
37
14
18
 
Kilpauk
99
22
16
 
 
May 2015
Anna Nagar
57
17
20
 
T.Nagar
67
17
27
 
Adyar
43
15
18
 
Kilpauk
128
19
28
 
June 2015
 
Anna Nagar
133
16
22
 
T.Nagar
122
19
25
 
Adyar
42
14
19
 
Kilpauk
78
18
23
 
 
July 2015
Anna Nagar
143
13
20
 
T.Nagar
97
16
24
 
Adyar
46
13
17
 
Kilpauk
99
15
21
 
 
August 2015
Anna Nagar
69
12
16
 
T.Nagar
112
14
21
 
Adyar
39
11
17
 
Kilpauk
51
13
18
 
 
September 2015
Anna Nagar
56
17
25
 
T.Nagar
62
19
26
 
Adyar
44
14
16
 
Kilpauk
45
19
19
 
 
October  2015
Anna Nagar
70
13
18
 
T.Nagar
74
14
22
 
Adyar
46
10
12
 
Kilpauk
71
13
18
 
 
November 2015
Anna Nagar
83
11
15
 
T.Nagar
64
14
18
 
Adyar
32
11
14
 
Kilpauk
57
14
18
 
 
December 2015
Anna Nagar
115
11
15
 
T.Nagar
164
12
21
 
Adyar
45
13
17
 
Kilpauk
79
17
21
                                            Source: Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board