Flight operations at the Chennai airport have taken a major hit. Chennai-bound flights have been diverted and at least 10 departures have been delayed due to low visibility in the city. Air quality index or AQI at several places in the city were classified as “hazardous”, as people across the city celebrated Bhogi, marking a significant spike in air pollution.Bhogi is the first day of the four-day Pongal festival, celebrated by burning discarded household items. Bonfires made of paper, cardboards, etc. were lit on the streets of Chennai as early as 4 AM. Due to the resulting smog, visibility dropped down to 50 metres.
“The visibility has dipped to 50 metres and since 3:30 am we have no flight activity. We hope there would be interested in an hour once breeze sets in clearing the air,” a senior airport official told NDTV. The AQI in the Manali area of Chennai is worse than in parts of Delhi. There have been several initiatives by the state pollution control board to raise awareness about the issue of air pollution this time of the year.
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