Delhi and Gurgaon citizens root for a smoke-free, green and clean Lohri, this year
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Delhi and Gurgaon citizens root for a smoke-free, green and clean Lohri, this year

This Lohri, environment-friendly residents of Delhi-NCR are saying no to burning of firewood, due to high levels of pollution in the National Capital.

delhi Updated: Jan 13, 2018 13:47 IST
Naina Arora
Naina Arora
Hindustan Times
Citizen groups from Delhi-NCR are celebrating an environment-friendly Lohri.(Shutterstock)

With peanuts, music and popcorn, Lohri is traditionally celebrated to mark the success of winter harvest in North India. And, lighting the bonfire is an integral part of the celebrations. But this year, environment-friendly folks of the city will mark the festivities of Lohri differently by going bonfire free. “We’ve been able to breathe properly and see a clear sky areas after so long. And this effort may help us go a long way in maintaining breathable air in Delhi. So, in our society, we’ve decided to not burn firewood,” says Sukhmani Kaur, a resident of Delhi.

And many of them are trying to spread this message as well. Groups, such as, Citizens for Clean Air, #MyRighttoBreathe are urging people to celebrate a Green Lohri or a Smoke-free Lohri. “Earlier, my friends have celebrated a smoke-free Diwali. I’ll be happy to dance and make merry without the smoke of a bonfire,” says Shivam Singh, a resident of Gurgaon’s Sushant Lok.

A comparison of air quality in 2017 across 23 cities shows Gurgaon as the most polluted Indian city (According to Hindustan Times’ analysis of daily PM2.5 data concentration) with Bangalore adjudged as the cleanest. And the air quality index (AQI) of Gurgaon and Delhi was either ‘poor’, ‘very poor’ or ‘severe’ on 47% days in 2017.

A comparison of air quality in 2017 across 23 cities shows Gurgaon was the most polluted Indian city (in terms of median PM2.5 concentration) while Bangalore was the cleanest. The country’s most polluted cities were largely in North India

“We just braved one of the worst air quality scenes in Delhi-NCR. The poor air quality spiked incidents of respiratory illness. Anything that adds to pollution should be curbed. On the one hand, we are praying to Mother Nature, and on the other, we are polluting it,” says Ruchika Sethi of Citizens for Clean Air group.

Supporting the Green Lohri initiative, Shona Chatterji, a resident of Gurgaon, says, “We can’t point fingers at the government that we want pollution levels to come down and do nothing about it. Our society celebrated a green Diwali and we’re trying to do the same with Lohri.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Sonali Amla, founder of the Delhi based group, #MyRighttoBreathe says, “Through our social media campaign, we are reaching out to people to move away from bonfires this year. We’re distributing kits comprising electric hot water bottle, monkey cap, muffler, anti-pollution masks, gloves and socks to guards and drivers because they also light bonfires to keep themselves warm, which in turn, adds to the pollution.”

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First Published: Jan 13, 2018 13:47 IST