Inhabitants staying in the various by lanes off Usman Road had to put up with not only the pungent smell of smoke but also with irritation and watery eyes. The smell pervaded the air and the dense smoke spread with the wind. With no hint of the fire reducing and new plumes of smoke coming out from the building, there was a worry that it could heighten allergic reactions among those with wheezing, asthma or bronchitis.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has despatched its mobile air quality monitoring laboratory to T. Nagar. However, officials were quoted as saying that said it would take some time to get details of pollution levels in the area.
The acrid smell was due to the burning of synthetic fibre, plastic, furniture and other material, emitting a “cocktail of gases,” explained ecologist Sultan Ahmed Ismail. Not just carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide but other toxic oxides were in the air too, he said. Respiratory physician with Apollo Hospital R. Narasimhan said: “It is anybody’s guess what the long-term effect could be.”