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Smog-free Bhogi thanks to awareness campaign

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HAZE COVER: A screen of smog over 100 feet road near Koyambedu on Sunday Bhogi Day. Pollution Control Board officials said this year the smog was less. Photo: S.S. Kumar
HAZE COVER: A screen of smog over 100 feet road near Koyambedu on Sunday Bhogi Day. Pollution Control Board officials said this year the smog was less. Photo: S.S. Kumar

Swahilya

Burning of tyres, plastic almost nil: Pollution Control Board

CHENNAI: Intense campaigning by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and NGOs among the public to reduce pollution during Bhogi festivities led to a relatively smog-free Bhogi this year. Meteorological Department officials said the situation was even better than last year.

While last year, for the first time, national and international flights took off on schedule on Bhogi day, this year was much better in view of the continued awareness campaign, officials said.

In North Chennai, residents usually begin lighting bonfires from 3 a.m. which go on till 5.30 a.m. But this time around, it began only around 4.30 a.m., a resident said. "There was not much smoke and people consciously did not burn rubber and plastics," a resident said.

Muniamma, a servant maid from Vyasarpadi said this time in all the houses where she works, people disposed of garbage the previous day and cleaned up the house for Bhogi, instead of burning them. Srinivasan, a conservancy worker in Nungambakkam, had the same to say: This time, people cleared their garbage, rather than burn them. Even the traditional `molam' drums which children beat while burning the garbage on Bhogi was a rarer sight this year.

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board followed their week-long awareness campaign with 20 monitoring teams on the Pre-Bhogi and Bhogi days. Nine ambient air quality monitoring stations were set up in Anna Nagar, T. Nagar, Besant Nagar, Kilpauk, Royapuram, Vallalar Nagar, Triplicane, Mandaveli and Vyasarpadi.

The TNPCB report said that there was a reduction in pollutant levels, especially in the Total Suspended Particulate Matter, by 11 per cent, Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter by 19 per cent, Oxides of Nitrogen by 26 per cent as compared to the previous year. There was a marginal increase in the oxides of sulphur level as compared to the last year. However, the overall status of gaseous pollutants such as Oxides of Sulphur and Oxides of Nitrogen were well within the prescribed standards.

T. Sekar, Member Secretary, TNPCB, said burning of wastes was sporadic between 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. in places such as Vyasarpadi, Royapuram, Otteri, Pulianthope, Saidapet, Kotturpuram, Avvai Nagar and the slums along the banks of the Cooum and the Buckingham Canal. The police also kept watch and advised persons not to burn waste and discarded refuse.

The TNPCB monitoring team accompanied by the police instructed the persons burning mats, broomsticks, wood, papers and rags, not to do so.

The people responded immediately and doused the flames.

The TNPCB said that this year the burning of tyres and plastics was almost nil due to intensive patrolling of the teams of the Board and the Police.

The Exnora International had launched a campaign against a smokeless bhogi and a High Court Order was issued two years ago, requiring the Chennai Police and the Corporation to prevent people from burning tyres and plastics.

This year, Exnora campaigned with over 2000 Civic Exnora branches and 700 residents welfare associations.

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