A breather for Mother Earth
With restricted commercial establishments, traffic halted, the lockdown has definitely been a breather for Mother Earth. Let's look at the pollution levels in the city:
There has been a considerable visible reduction in garbage generated. As per a report from the Corporation, the city’s waste reduced by nearly 30%. However, with the reduction in the conservancy staff, the many streets are not swept. “With no spillovers from bins, the roads are now covered with foliage and looking very beautiful,” remarked Anjana from Nehru Nagar.
The micro-composting centres (MCC) and material recovery facilities (MRF) where recyclable waste is further segregated is also closed.
The average ambient air quality at Perungudi for the past 3 months as reported by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) speaks a lot in itself:
** There was a sudden spike in Particulate Matter<2.5 on April 2, 3, and 4, reaching up to 1985 µg/m³. We tried to reach TNPCB officials in this regard, however, their offices are closed because of the lockdown.
The TNPCB website also did not have information on water quality and decibel levels. However, going by the public’s opinion, decibel levels too have decreased drastically with no honking and screeching on the roads. “I could never imagine I could ever get a day of peace like this before. I cannot imagine Vannadurai hardly has vehicles now,” stated an elated C.Chandran, a senior citizen from Vannandurai.
Unfortunately, no significant difference has been reported in the state of the Adyar river. “Though visible garbage like plastics is not there, the quality of water is the same because the sewage is still being let into the river,” said Saravanan from Urur Olcott Kuppam. This reduced pollution level is what the city needed badly. Sadly, it has come at a cost. If only a threat to life can make us conscious of our planet, this is the right time to change that attitude. Let us be thankful to Mother Earth and do our bit to show our gratitude.