Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days and is celebrated in almost all parts of India.
In Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as Thai Pongal. The day preceding Thai Pongal is called Bhogi. During the Bhogi, at dawn people light a
bonfire with logs of wood, cow-dung cakes, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at
home that are no longer useful. However, with the lack of farm wastes in the city, the
people in the cities are just keen to make a bonfire with old tyres and tubes, plastic
materials, old mates, broomstick, garbage and a few other harmful materials – Thus
increasing the levels of various pollutants in atmosphere.
Bonfires lit by residents in the presence of high humidity, low temperature may cause smog which disrupts visibility and put motorises in great hardship and flight operations may also be disrupted because of smog. In order to create awareness among the public, TNPCB is conducting awareness programme in all the districts in association in the past 15 years.
Because of the awareness, the burning of waste materials such as old rubber products, plastics, tyres, tubes is considerably reduced.
This year, TNPCB has conducted awareness programme in Chennai and all District Head Quarters. In Chennai TNPCB in association with Colleges conductedawareness programme in all the 15 Zones for three days through Auto rickshaws having with banners, distributing pamphlets, public address system. Awareness also created through FM Radio, WhatsApp, Face Book and shopping malls etc. In this regard meetings were conducted with NGOs and Resident Welfare Associations.
Awareness were created to the school students through School Education Department.
On the day of Bhogi, TNPCB jointly with Police Department has conducted night patrolling by 36 Teams. During the patrolling burning of waste materials were noticed in some places and it was put off by the patrolling team by means of water and sand. More than 100 waste tyres which was kept for firing were seized. It will be sent to Common Hazardous Waste Management Facility at Gummidipoondi.