Chennai: Bhogi, the first day of Pongal festivities, will not just bring happiness, but also loads of smoke as people will be burning old things on streets. This will increase pollution levels in the city, affect traffic and leave people with cough and breathing difficulties. But these things may be a thing of the past this year, for the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board is going all guns blazing with a set of rules and regulations. And, for the first time, it has tied up with the police department to achieve its mission.
Speaking to News Today, TNPCB Chief Scientific Officer and spokesperson Sai Prasad, said, “On the eve of Bhogi, patrolling will be done in association with the police. Thirty teams have been formed to inspect 15 zones in the city. This pollution phenomenon is high in the metropolis and we are doing our best to create awareness among people.”
Listing out the measures, he added: “Inviting the residents’ welfare associations in the city, an awareness workshop was hosted this morning to maintain the levels well within the limits. For other places, the District Administration and School Education Department, along with our engineers, are reaching out to the public on the hazardous effects of lighting bonfires.”
The board also launched an autorickshaw campaign yesterday and 15 autos have been deployed to go around the city to explain the citizens about the threat to environment that is caused.
“It is the public participation that we require, no matter how much ever efforts we take, it would be successful only when people cooperate and not burn anything,” the official added.
He however stated that they have not levied fine owing to religious sentiments. As the city is completely experiencing low temperature, high humidity and moisture, it is stated that the smoke would stay within the earth’s atmosphere, thus, creating smog. It is learnt that TNPCB has not taken special efforts.
Speaking about pollution watch, Santhosh Shankar, an activist, said, “When I went for a cycle marathon on the day of Bhogi last year, we encountered severe smog in Ambattur. Visibility was disrupted and all the riders experienced breathing troubles. However, there was a shift in the attitude of village people who had resorted to burning the farm waste that did not cause pollution.”
“Particulate matters measuring 2.5 micrometres and less in dimension are deadly, as they can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause breathing problems, or they can even enter into your bloodstream,” said Gleneagles Global Health City Institute of Pulmonology head Dr Vijil Rahulan.
|Air quality watch (PM 2.5)
Manali – 318 (Very poor)
Data taken as of 10 am today from National Air Quality Index