The festival of Holi is one of the most important ones and is celebrated all through the northern part of country with utmost fervor. It marks the beginning of springtime, harvest of pulses, wheat etc and is a festival of colors. It begins a night prior with Holika Dahan wherein we collect sticks and old logs and burn them in a pyre.
This auspicious ritual too has evolved with time. Now a days heaps of garbage such as plastic bags, old tyres, rubber products, leather cuttings and other waste materials too are collected for the Holika Dahan.
With Holika Dahan just a few days away, Tarumitra interns form Patna Science College, A.N College, College of Commerce and Central University of South Bihar conducted a survey on the ingredients of material collected to be torched on Holika Dahan and discussed environmental impact on city and health impact on residents.
The discussion reviled burning of such materials in Holika dahan would emit CO, SO2, NOx, VOCs, PAHs,(PCBs); and heavy metals. Various research papers confirms exposure to such emissions leads to acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) health hazards. Depending on the length and degree of exposure, these health effects could include irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, respiratory effects, central nervous system depression, and cancer.
As per PWM Rules 2016 and SWM Rules 2016 open burning of such materials are prohibited.
These interns met DM, and PMC Assistant Commissioner to raise the issue.
Mr Kumar Ravi has assured all his support to raise action based awareness with Tarumitra. Ms Sheela Irani as promised to send PMC vehicle with some of their workforce, however she also raised concern of religious sentiments of public as they may not like people from marginalized community touching the holy pile of holika dahan so Tarumitra interns have taken responsibility to segregate tyres, plastic material and other harmful items form the heap, hand them over to PMC and conduct public awareness program
On March 27th on pre-eve of Holika Dahan Tarumitra Interns and volunteers gathered at Ramnagri More. Removed old Tyres, broken chairs, and various kind of plastic. Assistant Commissioner Ms Sheela Irani had arranged a truck to take away the segregated harmful substances form Holika heap. Thereafter Tarumitra members reached out to nearby residents to inform residents about their activity and aware them about the harmful impacts of burning tyres, plastics and other items. Residents of the locality agreed to the fact that as they live in those and would be severely exposed to the harmful fumes and may attract chronic disease in long run.