Environment and Sports Minister T.P.M. Mohideen Khan on Wednesday flagged off half a dozen vehicles to create awareness of celebrating a smoke-free ‘Bhogi' from the Chennai School near Little Mount.

Mr. Khan said the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) conducted the awareness campaign against burning of plastic and other unwanted materials during ‘Bhogi' day for the past four years seriously. The systematic campaign created awareness among city residents, who have to a great extent, stopped the habit of burning waste, he claimed.

The State PCB along with schoolchildren and residents welfare associations planned to spread the message among people. The problem could be curtailed only through creating awareness, Mr. Khan said.

Mayor M. Subramanian said some years ago people used to drink water from the road side taps. Nowadays majority of the people either buy water sachets or opt for water bottles. Similarly, if the trend of polluting the environment continued then people would have to carry a mask attached to an oxygen-filled pouch to inhale pollution-free air, he warned. Burning of wastes led to respiratory problems for many and the students should do a door-to-door campaign against this habit, he added.

V. Irai Anbu, Secretary, Environment and Forests, who is holding additional charge as Chairman of the TNPCB, said burning of non-biodegradable ones polluted the atmosphere and caused health problems. He appealed to the students to spread the message among the people in their neighbourhood.

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