Environmental Awareness and Public Participation
Environmental AwarenessEnvironmental awareness is to understand the fragility of environment and the importance of its protection. Promoting environmental awareness is an easy way to become an environmental steward and participate in creating a brighter future for next generations. Environmental campaign has become an important tool to achieve effective compliance of various pollution control norms. Large scale public involvement can strengthen environment movements for the sake of implementation of environment-friendly rules and regulations by the Government machinery in much better way to have the most desired results. The Board conducts various types of environmental awareness programmes every year on the following occasions. During the year 2021-2022, the following awareness programmes were conducted during festival occasions.
Vinayagar Chathurthi Festival
Awareness programmes are conducted through the District Collectors in all the district headquarters and towns to the public for not to use Plaster of Paris and paints to make the Vinayagar idols. They are encouraged to use clay for making idols as a tradition. The public are addressed to remove the worship materials like flowers, clothes, decorating materials etc., before immersion of idols. Bio-degradable materials should be collected separately for recycling or composting. Non-biodegrade materials should be collected separately for dispose in sanitary landfills. The idols shall be immersed in designated water bodies identified by the District Administration. The Board monitors water quality of the said water bodies before and after immersion of idols. The Tamil Nadu Government (vide G.O.No.765 dated 30.08.2021) ordered the restricted the celebration and placing of idol in places. However, the immersion of idol in water bodies by the individual households is permitted for a period upto 15.09.2021 with certain guidelines.
Every year, the Board conducts public awareness programme during Deepavali festival for celebrating noise and smoke pollution free Deepavali. The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in its Judgment dated 23.10.2018 in W.P. (C) No.728/2015 have issued directions inter-alia that the crackers with reduced emission (improved crackers) and green crackers only would be permitted to be manufactured and sold, extensive public awareness campaigns shall be taken up by the Central Government / State Government / Schools / Colleges informing the public about the harmful effects of firecrackers. The Hon'ble Court has also restricted the timing for two hours for bursting of fireworks. Accordingly, the Government of Tamilnadu has permitted the public for bursting of crackers between 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. on the Deepavali day (04.09.2021). The Hon'ble Supreme Court has also directed the SPCBs to carryout short-term monitoring in their cities for 14 days (commencing from 7 days prior to Deepavali and ending 7 days after Deepavali).As per the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Board conducted awareness programme in association with Eco-clubs, National Green Corps, School Education, Higher Education, Police Departments and District Administration. In this regard, a total fund of Rs.6.5 lakhs (Rupees Six lakhs and Fifty Thousands only) was sanctioned to all the District Environmental Engineers for conducting awareness programme. Awareness through FM Radio was also done for four days from 01.11.2021 to 04.11.2021 in 9 cities (i.e.) Chennai, Trichy, Coimbatore, Madurai,Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Vellore, Salem and Erode.
The Board conducted awareness programmes during Bhogi Festival in January 2022, to sensitize the public about the ill effects of air pollution caused due to the burning of waste materials such as waste tyres, tubes, plastic materials, cloths etc. All the DEEs have conducted the programme in coordination with the District Administration. Awareness through FM Radio was also done for two days from 11.01.2022 to 12.01.2022 in 9 cities (i.e.) Chennai, Trichy, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Erode, Salem and Vellore. On the day of Bhogi, night patrolling was carried out by the Board officials in the Chennai city so as to curb the burning of tyres, tubes and plastic materials. The Board also conducted ambient air quality survey on prebhogi and bhogi day at 15 places in Chennai city viz., Kathivakkam, Manali, Thillai Nagar(Kolathur), Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Thiru.Vi.Ka.Nagar, Ambattur, Anna Nagar, Besant Nagar, Thiyagaraya Nagar, Perungudi, Karambakkam, Meenambakkam, Kodambakkam and Sholinganallur.
ECOmmute School - Certificate Programme
Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. Vehicular pollution from use of fossil fuels is a major contributor for air pollution in cities. The emissions also contribute directly to Climate Change phenomenon making wild as well as human dominated ecosystems very vulnerable to disasters.
Considering the importance of environment protection from air pollution, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) have initiated a 'Weekly Pollution-Free Office Commute Day' (ECOmmute Day) and commenced it from 17th November 2021, a Wednesday. Accordingly, every Wednesday, the employees and all staff of TNPCB in all the offices of State avoid personal motorized vehicles and reach the office premises by either public transport or walk or cycle or electric cycles/vehicles. Following the initiative of TNPCB, several District Collectors across the country and the Administration of Lakshwadeep have also implemented the ECOmmute Day. Several industries are also implementing ECOmmute. An exclusive logo has been released to mark the 'ECOmmute'.
In order to extend the ECOmmute concept to school students, the TNPCB have launched a programme titled 'ECOmmute School'. The objective of the programme is to encourage high school students to adopt 'ECOmmute' mode to commute to school. This was initiated to encourage students to adopt green modes of transport like walk or use cycle or public transport to attend school and also reduce the local air pollution in the vicinity of schools.
As per the programme, the schools wherein 90% and above students adopt ECOmmute mode will be awarded with certificate of 'ECOmmute School' and the students will be presented with 'Friend of Environment' certificate. In addition, the top 10 Government schools and top 10 Govt aided/private school will be awarded with sports articles worth of Rs.25,000/- each.
As a first phase, the TNPCB introduced the 'ECOmmute School' programme to the Schools in Chennai District in the year 2021-2022. The students in the 8th, 9th and 10th Standards are covered in this programme. TNPCB has addressed to all the Government, Government Aided and Private Schools in Chennai district to participate in this programme. The schools are informed that ECOmmute is a voluntary proramme. No student is compelled to participate in this programme. They shall participate in the programme with the concurrence of their parents. In this regard, circular instructions were also issued from the Chief Education Officer, Chennai District. The TNPCB has also addressed to the Commissioner, Greater Chennai Corporation to make the roads and foot paths near the school are safe for commute by the students. The TNPCB has also addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai Police for declaration of one hour in morning and evening as 'Student Hour' in road traffic and also to provide barricades near the schools.
The TNPCB has developed an online portal (https://tnpcb.gov.in/ecommute_org/) for registration to participate in the programme. This software, itself calculate the percentage of the students adopted ECOmmute mode. [% of ECOmmute = (X/Y) x 100. Where X = Total number of students in 8th, 9th & 10th Std. adopted in ECOmmute mode, Y = Total students strength in 8th, 9th & 10th Std.].
The Board has provided hands-on training to all the schools on how to registrar through the e.portal. 242 schools have attended the training programme. In the above program, 99 schools with student strength of 24627 in Chennai city have registered and participated. Out of which, 37 schools (21 Govt. + 16 Govt. Aided and Private) with student strength of 6373 have achieved 90% and above ECOmmute mode.
During 21st & 22nd May 2022, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forest, Government of India has conducted the two days Workshop on National Clean Air Programme at Chennai. The workshop was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Forest, Government of India. In order to publicize the ECOmmute at the National level, best performed six schools (3 Govt + 3 Govt Aided and Private) were invited and presented with'ECOmmute School' certificate in the abovesaid inaugural function. The remaining 31 schools were presented with certificate and the top 20 schools were awarded sports equipments by the Hon'ble Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Youth Welfare and Sports Development during the World Environment Day celebration held on 5th June 2022. The students were presented with 'Friend of Environment' Certificate.
Tamil Nadu Green Champion Award 2021
The Government of Tamil Nadu, Environment, Climate Change and Forest Department have instituted Green Champion Awards to be presented to individuals and organizations who are Government Exhibitions making exemplary contribution to environment protection. 100 individuals/organizations would be selected every year for the Award. Each Award carries a prize money of Rs.1 lakh.
Green Champion Award is presented to Organization/ Education Institutions/ Schools/ Colleges/ Residential Welfare Associations/ Individuals/ Local Body/ Industries that have made exemplary contribution towards Environment Conservation and protection in any such sphere of relevant activity including Environmental Education and Training, Environmental Awareness, Environmental Protection, Research and Scientific Studies for a New Innovative Green products/ Green Technology, Sustainable Development, Solid Waste Management, Water Conservation and Water Bodies Protection, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Emission Reduction, Control and Recycling of Plastic Waste, Eco-restoration, Conservation Measures, Coastal Area Protection etc.
TNPCB received 85 proposals from the District Collectors and Green Champion Awards were issued to 85 selected awardees during the World Environment Day held on 5th June, 2022.