Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of the RWTH Aachen University

Polluted, but charming Chennai

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Chennai as a place for your first India trip is probably an ambitous choice. Its high population, thus traffic density, its high temperatures and unfamiliar english accent of the Tamil speaking community is demanding at first. However, the pleasant attitude and lifestyle of the local people makes adaption easy in the end. The local’s naturally patient behaviour on processes and matters that don’t work out at first try or are delayed temporally several times is deeply implemented in their everyday life and surely healthy for their heart and mind.

Looking at the physical health, however, Chennai City’s inhabitants face some serious problems in their living area.

Air pollution extends all over Chennai Metropolitan Area. The smog generated by combination of the hot climate with congested traffic stresses the lungs particulary at rush hour at twilight. Another obvious source of air pollution is the  waste lying around in every street (lack of dust bins), gathered unsorted at random spots and beside the street (lack of waste management) and most of all gets incinerated at almost every corner.

As my study is about groundwater vulnerability in Chennai, from my so far research and data collection (from friendly and cooperative staff at the local agencies and water organisations) I have a valuable insight in the strongly affected water quality of Chennai’s aquifer. However, by the surface waters’ stain, disposed waste and its odour, even a layman is capable to deduct the poor condition of the ground water.

By the anonymity living in megacities like Chennai, their inhabitants loose the sense of responsibility for their surounding environment. Furthermore, by the lack of education in large parts of the population little are conscious that it’s themselves who they harm the most.

Awareness programs and inducements to act for the purpose of the environment are urgently needed in megacities like Chennai.

Tim Wolters
M.Sc. Georesources Management. In Chennai/India from February to March 2012 for field research and data collection for master thesis 'Vulnerability and Risk assessment of Chennai City's shallow aquifer' at the Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of RWTH Aachen University. See all posts from Tim Wolters
  1. k.paramasivam

    As a foreigner you are aware of all these dirty things.People here see cleanliness in their home only.All the people consider total area of the street is like dust bin.Even decent people don’t understand the importance of environmental hygiene. hundreds of years they have trained the nasty culture. thank you for your feelings,. Soon i am going to start a movement as pure india movement

  2. i have visited first time to Chennai…and it is horrible place from pollution point of view…extremly dirty city…rest all is ok,but i don’t understand how people live in such dirty & full of pollution city. sorry..

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