The change in the celebrations took place following discussions among residents and management who were concerned about the air quality. However, scenes were different in Greater Noida, Ghaziabad.
In view of rising pollution levels with each passing day, residents across Dwarka celebrated Lohri this year in a more subtle manner, with community bonfires instead of lighting them at an individual or separate spots, which actually decreased compared to the previous years.
An expert in environment-related matters and a resident of Youngsters Apartments (Sector 6), Suman Malik spread this message, “It is a matter of survival!!! Please avoid individual bonfires on Lohri. We cannot make the air worse than what it is .... community bonfire with minimum burning of wood can serve the purpose for all who wish to celebrate. Let us follow the same to keep the killer AQI from soaring tonight ...!!!!.”
Leela Bora, a resident of Janak Residency said, “Awareness among people made all this happen. We all were in favour of community bonfires and we followed that this year.”
Though, there were people who were in favour of individual bonfires too as they did not find anything wrong with that.
“There are various reasons of pollution and bonfires were not something which could affect the environment. I mean, we have to follow our culture and tradition too,” Sudha Sinha, general secretary of the Federation of CGHS told City Spidey.
When we discussed this with the people of Panchsheel Greens, one of the residents replied, ”We were not told anything of that sort. Actually, we celebrated it by lighting individual bonfires and it was really exciting to see people singing, dancing and enjoying.”
For the uninitiated, Lohri is mainly seen as an occasion marking the end of the winters and beginning of a new harvest season by Punjabis. The festival involves a puja parikrama around the bonfire and distribution of prasad. This symbolises a prayer to Agni, the spark of life, for abundant crops and prosperity.