Chennai Buzz: Hope for a smokeless Bhogi, a plastic-free book fair, new buses for MTC and more!

The new year brings in lots to cheer about for Chennai! Look no further, if you missed some of these news items from the week that went by!

Campaign for a smokeless Bhogi

The celebration of the harvest festival brings with it a spike in air pollution across the city. The air quality index (AQI)  data from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board confirms the rise in particulate matter during this period. The Chennai Corporation has begun an awareness campaigns for a smokeless Bhogi. The campaign conducted by the TNPCB  and health department officials is aimed at sensitising residents, RWAs, students, etc on the hazards of burning certain items like rubber and plastics. The Environment department of the TN Government is also lending its weight to the campaign.

The officials also reiterated the plastic ban and encouraged citizens to carry cloth bags.

Source: Times of India

Plastic free book fair

Every year book lovers in the city look forward to January. The 42nd Chennai Book Fair, which is the largest gathering spot for book lovers in the city (and the second largest book fair in the country), is expected to draw over 2 million visitors, for its over 800 book stalls. This year, the book sellers have kept to the promise of the state to go plastic free.

over 50% of the booksellers are using paper bags to pack the books that they sell. Over 50% of the stalls are using brown paper covers in various sizes while others use newspapers to wrap books. A small number are also giving out cloth bags. There are also a few stalls seen giving out non woven PP bags, which are on the banned list.

Most of the visitors to the 42nd edition of the book fair at Nandanam also carry their own bags.

The book fair will be on till 20th  January.

Source: The Hindu

Plastic ban – takeout orders decline, small vendors adapt, plastic manufacturers plead for clarity

Hotels claimed that their takeout orders declined by almost 25% in the aftermath of the ban on single use plastic. Several restaurants chains have switched or are switching to paper bags for delivery. Citizens’ feedback on the ban indicates that small vendors such as fruit and vegetable vendors and flower sellers, etc are adapting quickly to the ban, and switching to banana leaves, paper, reusable containers etc..

Meanwhile, manufacturers of plastics in other parts of the state came together to clarify their doubts on what is banned and what is not, with the enforcement authorities, at a meeting organised by the TN Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Source: The New Indian Express, The Hindu, Citizen Matters Chennai

Making busy roads more pedestrian friendly

Given the high number of pedestrians using arterial road such as G N Chetty Road and Venkatnarayana road, the Chennai Corporation has decided to introduce ‘traffic calming‘ features on 20 major roads of the city. These will include pedestrian crossings at intersections, wider footpaths and features that will help bring down vehicle speed to 30kmph in crowded areas. The civic authority will also plant more trees along the arterial roads for green cover.

Source: The Hindu, The Times of India

Chennai Metro adds to its ‘green’ promise

Chennai Metro Rail Limited has been taking various green initiatives and the latest is introduction of 3 electric autos at the Alandur statio as a pilot run.  These three electric autos, launched in association with  Namma Auto, will be available at this station at a flat rate of ₹10 and will shuttle between Alandur and DLF IT Park, Porur.

The noise free autos with zero emissions will add to the sustainable development plans of CMRL.

The Namma Auto Project is jointly implemented by a consortium comprising Fondazione ACRA (Italy), Enviu Foundation (The Netherlands), Women Health and Development and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) from India.

Meanwhile Chennai Metro will start services as early as 4.30 a.m. and extend them to 11 p.m., to help passengers heading to Chennai Central and Egmore railway stations as well as to the airport.

Source: New Indian Express | The Hindu

MTC adds new buses to the fleet

Though Chennai  is often considered to have the best transport network among metros, the condition of the state run buses had always come under for poor maintenance and overall aging of the fleet. The city has finally got 56 new buses fitted with automatic doors and fewer seats to provide more leg room for the passengers.

Of the 56 new buses, 25  will ply along OMR (where there is no local train network) connecting the IT corridor with the rest of the city. With this MTC is hopeful of wooing IT sector employees and college students to use public transport.

Meanwhile MTC is also planning to roll out 80 e-buses in the city in the first phase. To make available the required infrastructure, MTC is planning to create charging facilities in five depots — Central bus depot at Pallavan Salai, and the bus depots at Anna Nagar, Poonamallee, Adyar and Perumbakkam.

Source: Times of India | The Hindu

[Compiled by Sandhya Raju]

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