Bhogi: Chennaiites experience less smoke

Chennai: As against the previous years’ alarming air quality data, this Bhogi has been recorded to be less-polluting across the city today.

The team of officers deployed by Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) were monitoring all the zones last night until this morning. Speaking about it, the spokesperson said, “Substantial activities were observed in areas such as Tambaram, Triplicane and Kannammapet in the city. The squad were on their feet continuously across the city to ensure people do not burn toxic materials.”

As per the observations of TNPCB officers, wood and old mats were utilised for bonfire predominantly as the tyres were evacuated from the city, well in advance.

The 2018 data furnished by the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board (2018) showed that there was a steep hike in PM 10 matter in the environment. This year, as per the readings of National Air Quality Index of PM 2.5, Alandur has recorded 140 and Velacheri to be 84, this morning as of 10 a.m. The record for Manali had not been provided due to insufficient data.

However, World Air Quality Index’s AQICN project recorded Alandur with poor air quality of 297. “It is surprising to witness the change that people from certain sections in the city are refraining to burn hazardous substances on account of Bhogi. In 2018, the road was littered with burnt ashes everywhere which has not been the case this year,” said Rama Rao, an activist from Nanganallur.

Similarly, at Ambattur, S P Nedumaran, a lawyer and activist, too, observed the attitudinal change. “Residents are embracing the change that many have withdrawn from burning this bhogi,” he said.

Quite contrastingly, on the other hand is Melkotaiyur that is still reeling under the smog effect. Elaborating about it, an independent volunteer Farith Nisha stated, “The level of pollution is high here as people in the locality are raising a bonfire with dumping toxic materials. There is a visible disruption due to lack of awareness among the residents here.”

Flights delayed
Owing to fog and smoke from Bhogi celebrations creating smog over the city, Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Andaman, Tiruchy flights to Chennai were delayed by two hours. According to reports, these flights to Chennai could not land in the city due to poor visibility. Also, private airliner, Jet Airways, cancelled two of its flights this morning: Chennai-Bengaluru and Chennai-Mumbai.

Source: National Air Quality Index, Central Pollution Control Board (Data taken as of 9 am today)
Alandur 140 (Moderate)
Manali – (insufficient data)
Velacheri 84 (Satisfactory)


Bhavani Prabhakar