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International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies

Manas Bhuiya bats for environment campaigns in vernacular languages

The campaign materials should contain simple, real-life situations, said the West Bengal minister. PTI

PTI | Published 08.09.22, 10:34 AM
For representational purposes

For representational purposes

File photograph

Manas Bhunia, West Bengal’s environment minister on Wednesday said to reach out to 10 crore people of Bengal, concentrating the campaign in English will not yield the desired results.

“We have to speak to the common man in his language about particulate matters, solid waste management and air quality,” he said, while addressing a programme in Kolkata on the occasion of International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies.

People should be made aware of the long-term effects of using coal-based ovens, setting fire to heaps of fallen tree leaves and the need to follow certain environmental norms, the minister added.

“This can be achieved only by carrying out a campaign blitzkrieg in the vernacular languages. The campaign materials should contain simple, real-life situations,” he said.

Bhunia said contrary to popular perception, vehicular emission is only seven per cent of total air pollution, while industrial units located in congested areas are more polluting.

Asked about the presence of polluting foundries at Ghusuri and Belur in Howrah district, which have led to escalation of particulate matter index in the belt, he told PTI later: “We have to strike a balance between livelihood issues and saving environment.”

He stated that it is not the role of the government or the pollution control board to tell everyone not to play loud music in processions for immersion of idols during the festive season.

“We can frame rules, but the man on street should be made aware about the danger to his and everyone’s health if loud music is played without break from a close distance for hours,” Bhunia said.

West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) Chairman Kalyan Rudra said while 225 air monitoring stations have been functioning across the state, eight more automated ones are coming up in near future to ensure ambient air quality.

“We are setting up air monitoring stations along borders of neighbouring states. This is because certain air-borne pollutants may travel from other states to West Bengal as stated in a study by experts,” he said.

The blue sky cannot be seen due to accumulation of particulate matters in the lower level of air especially from October to March, Rudra explained.

“We have to find ways so that clear sky can be seen again as it was centuries back,” the WBPCB chief said.

WBPCB member secretary Rajesh Kumar, IPS, said: “Mass extinction of the human race is looming if we don’t take corrective steps.”

He said that the WBPCB has started campaigning to check pollution in 5,632 schools across the state.

Last updated on 08.09.22, 10:34 AM

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