Is this really the Bhogi tradition?

On Bhogi, people discard old and derelict things and look for new things that signal change or transformation. At dawn, people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other combustible stuff  (mainly knick knacks that are no longer useful at home).

We knew it was coming. The burning of random stuff in the name of tradition. The pollution on Bhogi day. The itching eyes, burning throat, breathlessness..

But it turned out to be much worse than last year. Probably because we actually have a winter this year. so cooler temperatures, combined with zero wind this morning, caused a dense impenetrable blanket of smog over the city this morning. What a nightmare start to the day!

Is this really tradition? Is this how we have always celebrated this wonderful festival of love and prosperity? Time for a rethink. Here are some pictures and comments from citizens across Chennai

“They really should have some government directive for this. Can’t breathe.” Padma Mahadevan, Thiruvanmiyur

A gloomy smoggy morning at Thiruvanmiyur beach. Pic: Padma Mahadevan

“Does tradition have to mean pollution, health hazard and public inconvenience?.. When there are a million beautiful, meaningful, and harmless ways to celebrate…”Anupama Shivaraman, Lloyds Road

“I should anticipate this and leave Tamil Nadu for a few days in future. This is hell for asthmatics.”  Suma Jacob, Kotturpuram

“Two birds collided outside my window this morning. I have never seen anything like this before. Can you imagine how bad the visibility must have been? – Pradyun Iyer, Thoraipakkam

“So dangerous to be driving this morning. Even at 7 am, I can’t see the road ahead of me. Now I empathise with my Delhi friends.” – Archana Stalin, K K Nagar

A view from a car navigating Koyambedu bus stand, near zero visibility. Pic: Archana Stalin

“At 10 am, the sun looked like the moon. Never seen this in Chennai before.” Vishwa Radhakrishnan, Madipakkam


  1. Heidi Ropa says:

    You are inspiring my friend. Keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Why the national programme for clean air failed a gasping Mumbai

Mumbai has seen an alarming decline in air quality. A look at the limited impact of the National Clean Air Programme on mitigating pollution.

October 2023 was a shocker for Mumbai. The coastal city has historically recorded lower AQI levels as compared to Delhi, which is notorious for its poor air quality. But the tables turned in October 2023, with AQI in Mumbai reaching dangerously high levels of up to 300, surpassing Delhi for several days. This led to a slew of respiratory ailments, more so among the vulnerable populations. PM2.5 levels have, in fact, seen a consistent increase in Mumbai over the past three years. Dr Jui Mandke, a paediatric surgeon practising in Mumbai, says, โ€œIn October 2023, we encountered the maximum number…

Similar Story

Ottupattarai renewed: From garbage dump to community garden in Coonoor

An initiative by the Coonoor Town Municipality and voluntary organisation Clean Coonoor has diverted tonnes of plastic waste from going to landfills.

Ottupattarai, once marred by the unsightly accumulation of waste in the picturesque hill town of Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, has undergone a remarkable transformation. This was possible through the dedicated efforts of Clean Coonoor, a city-based NGO. Nestled in the highest part of Coonoor, amidst the tea gardens of the Nilgiris, the waste dumping site in Ottupattarai has metamorphosed into a thriving garden that serves as a community space for residents. The makeover journey began in 2014 when 15 dedicated volunteers established Clean Coonoor to initiate sustainable waste management practices in the town. Beginnings of a journey In 2019, Clean…