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TN air samples among most polluted in country: study

The Hindu
5 June 2006

Chennai, June. 5 (PTI): Air samples from Tamil Nadu are among the most polluted, a national study of 'toxic gases in ambient air' conducted in various parts of the country has revealed.

Two samples from Tamil Nadu were found to be among the three most polluted samples out of 21 air samples collected from all over the country, the study titled 'Smoke Screen - Ambient Air Qualiy in India', conducted by a Chennai-based NGO- Community Environmental Monitoring, showed.

Of the 21, 13 samples were taken from Tamil Nadu using a low-cost air sampling tool that contains a special plastic bag housed within a bucket,the report released here by Magsaysay awardee Dr Shantha, said.

She told reporters here an air sample from Perungudi, around 25 km from here, showed the presence of 27 chemicals, the highest number found in any Indian sample. A few of these chemicals were nearly 35,000 times higher than the permissible limits.

Another study of the effluent discharge into the river Cauvery, considered to be the vital source for the delta regions in Tamil Nadu, has found six carcinogenic chemicals in the 17 that have been detected.

The report is unique for India because it analyses air samples for 67 toxic volatile organic compounds and 20 sulphur compounds in the air."None of these chemicals are being systematically monitored by the government and no standards exist for them in ambient air despite evidence that many of the reported chemicals exert severe health effects," she said.

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