CHENNAI: Even as ambient air quality in the State as well as in the city deteriorate during Bhogi festival, the State government has requested the revellers to celebrate smoke-free Bhogi this year.
In a statement, V Meyyanathan, Minster for Environment and Climate Change, said "Our forefathers celebrated Bhogi festival before Pongal festival, which was traditionally based on hope by discarding dark thinking and hooting and hollering good thoughts in order to commemorate Pongal festival. They heralded the Bhogi festival with old materials and goods crafted from natural materials, and these initiatives did not pollute the atmosphere or have an influence on the environment."
He added, nowadays, during Bhogi, air pollution is caused by incorrect practice of firing discarded tyres, plastic goods, tubes, papers with chemical residues and so on. Because of these activities, dense black smoke is produced and disrupting landing and take off regular flights in Airports and driving on City Streets. 'Furthermore, it creates air pollution and health hazards to the public causing eye irritation, sneezing among others," he said.
He added that to prevent such illicit practices, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) is creating public awareness for the past 19 years through the distribution of hand out, audio messages via auto rickshaws, and other means. Because of these public awareness campaigns, activities of on burning of waste tyres, rubber tubes, and so on has been reduced significantly.
To monitor the ambient air quality, TNPCB will conduct ambient air quality survey in 15 locations in Chennai throughout the day for 24 hours on Bhogi, day before and after. Arrangements have also been made to publish ambient air quality data in web site of the TNPCB.
Meyyanathan also requested the public to celebrate smoke free Bhogi Festival.