Indiatimes|The Times of India|The Economic Times
Awareness in kids lights up Diwali, cuts down the din
Richa Pinto| TNN | Updated: Oct 31, 2016, 12.29 AM IST
Children lighting up diyas on Diwali.
MUMBAI: If you thought Diwalifestivities were a tad less noisy this year, it's no figment of your imagination. This year's celebration has indeed been less noisy as compared to the past few years, said activists across the city. And a huge chunk of this credit, they said, goes to the rising environment awareness among tiny tots.
Anti-noise activist Sumaira Abdulali who went around the city on Sunday to record noise levels said that there was a significant difference in noise levels. "In the past few years, I used to receive numerous complaints from citizens about crackers being burst till late-night hours, but this year I have received barely five or six complaints so far," said Abdulali, adding that she was still to complete recording noise levels for this year. "One of the reasons for this being a quieter Diwali is because of the awareness among children that they need to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali."
She expressed gratitude to Mumbaikars for "understanding the harmful health effects of noise".
Activist Ashoke Pandit, who is also a filmmaker, echoed the view. He said that while crackers continue to be burst this year too, it is only to bring in the feel of the festival. "Most of the crackers are noise-free. This year, one does not find that criminal waste of money in firecrackers. Earlier, the crackers were such that the smoke emanating from them used to billow up at least two floors of a building, but this year it is not the case," said Pandit. "Also, until last year, one used to witness firecrackers being burst almost a week prior to Diwali. Fortunately, this is not the case this year."
Civic activist Nikhil Desai from King's Circle said that the reason for this year's comparatively noise-free Diwali could also have a lot to do with people choosing to go out of Mumbai to celebrate the festival of lights. "That apart, crackers have also become costly and so people choose to refrain from spending money on buying them," said Desai.
However, Anil Joseph, an activist from Bandra, begged to differ. "This year, lights have been witnessed more than crackers, for sure. But it's definitely not been a noise-free Diwali," said Joseph. "In our locality, the sound of crackers has been as much as in the past years."
However, pollution levels in the city remained in the 'poor' category on Sunday. Real-time data recorded by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar) pegged the city's overall Air Quality Index at 269 on Sunday evening. This was way above the air quality index range of '0 to 100' which is considered 'safe for breathing'.
The air quality is expected to hit 308 which is in the 'very poor' category on Monday, according to the forecast put out by Safar.
Top CommentWhy only Diwali should be Eco Friendly. Every featival sholud be celebrated that way. Talking of festivals brings in my mind pictures seen on various media of Bakr eid few days back where streets wer... Read MoreNitin Daftari
According to real-time data available on Safar'smobile application, Mazgaon, Malad and Andheri, with an air quality index of 295, 311 and 306, respectively, were among the worst-polluted areas in the city. The areas where the index was comparatively lower included Worli and Colaba with an index of 236 and 201 respectively.
AQI of 201 to 300 is considered to be poor. People with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion when air quality touches this level.
78 COMMENTSSORT BY:Up VotedNewestOldestDiscussedDown Voted
Nitin Daftari248 days agoWhy only Diwali should be Eco Friendly. Every featival sholud be celebrated that way. Talking of festivals brings in my mind pictures seen on various media of Bakr eid few days back where streets were flooded with blood of animals slayed in the name of belief.
32 2 ReplyFlag
Souvik Dastidar Nitin Daftari-248 days agoWhether Hindu or Muslim or Christian festival ... the govt should not care in the age of science and tech. If you have to celebrate do it silently without disturbing others with fruits, flowers, helping others, eco friendly colors and LED lights. This will make us eco friendly and humane. This is the essence of modern democracy. Nothing else.
5 3 ReplyFlag
Narahari Ramnathapur Nitin Daftari-248 days agoIn India one can only criticize and comment on ONLY HINDU TRADITIONS!
4 0 ReplyFlag
soorya Narahari Ramnathapur-247 days agoCow contributes to the environment in many ways as per the recent studies. If you talk about that you will be communal, if you talk about daily 5 times noise pollution then you will be communal, if you talk about mass animal slaughtering you will be communal. Only secular thing is talking about traditional Hindu festivals.
0 0 ReplyFlag
Show all responses
Raj Modi248 days agoWhen would they develop awareness of Bloodless Eid?
10 3 ReplyFlag
Varun Sharma248 days agoI hope the Eid is going to be Goatless and Christmas tp be treeless. Would be so much eco friendly. This abdulali im sure will also go around city to check if any goats are being slaughtered in the name of belief!!!
8 1 ReplyFlag
VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Follow / Like us at @timesofindiaCopyright © 2016 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights:Times Syndication Service
Measuring sound levels on Diwali
Measuring sound levels on DiwaliSumaira Abdulali, environmentalist and convenor of the Awaaz Foundation, will be measuring the noise levels in different parts of the city on Diwali.
Written by Sukrita Baruah | Mumbai | Published:October 29, 2016 1:56 am
Sound measuring device.
When most people will be joining the revelries and spending time with their families at night, Sumaira Abdulali, environmentalist and convenor of the Awaaz Foundation, will be measuring the noise levels in different parts of the city. Armed with a simple handheld noise or decibel metre, she will measure decibel levels in large parts of the city during Diwali celebrations to fortify her campaign against noise pollution.
Abdulali has been doing this since 2003. She works on those nights which have a high likelihood of producing unhealthy levels of noise pollution. “During Diwali, I am out for one or two nights, during Ganpati it’s two or three. I am out during other festivities like Navratri, Dussehra, weddings and the Mahim festival in December. It’s not a continuous year-long exercise, most of the work is concentrated in the festive season,” she said.
During these nights, she leaves her Bandra home between 7.30 to 8 pm and heads towards Juhi, Andheri and Versova. While she tries to cover as much of the city as possible, the areas she prioritises depends on the festival. During Navratri, she goes as far as Ghatkopar, Malad and Borivli, but the noisiest areas are towards Juhu. Girgaon is a high priority area during Ganesh Chaturthi. This Diwali, she will start with Juhu, Andheri and Versova, after which she intends to turn around for Dharavi and reach Girgaum Chowpatty — which is likely to have the greatest concentration of noise — before 10 pm.
How long she stays out for also depends entirely on the festival. “For Ganesh Chaturthi, I’m out till around 1 or 2 am, even though the deadline for the use of loudspeakers is midnight, which is simply not adhered to,” she said. Her rounds extend till 2 am during Diwali as well, during which the limit for bursting crackers is 10 pm. “Navratri celebrations usually wind up by midnight though,” she added.
Abdulali is not alone in her endeavour. Hundreds of residents from all over the city volunteer to give her inputs about noise levels in their areas. While she travels around the city in a vehicle, she has to step out and walk around to capture the sounds of the city.
“It’s amazing that I have never felt threatened at any point of time while carrying out this exercise. Far from being hostile, people are actually very curious. They come up to me and ask me if the sound levels they are producing are safe and whether they should try to keep it down a little,” she said. The noise level readings that she collects during her night expeditions are submitted to the police to prompt action.
She has been encouraging people to use a noise level measuring App on their phones and send their readings to the police directly as well. During the least few festive months of this year, the organisation has produced 61 readings in court.
She says that five years ago, 100 per cent of the crackers being produced were violating permitted decibel levels, but this year, all crackers were within permissible limits.
“Sometimes, it feels strange that while everybody is celebrating, I’m going around the city taking readings,” she laughs. “But I try to look at it positively. There is a great pleasure in doing something useful for society and trying to counter a major health hazard. Besides, my family ends up forgiving me for being absent and I can always light a diya and celebrate the next day,” she said.
Copyright © 2017 The Indian Express [P] Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Mumbai air may be worse than usual this DiwaliTNN | Oct 29, 2016, 12.53 PM IST
Mumbai air may be worse than usual this Diwali
Diwali might not bring a lot of cheer for the city's air, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).Air quality , measured by the level of the main pollutant, particulate material 2.5 (PM 2.5, particles that measure less than 2.5 microns) is expected to remain in the `poor' and `very poor' category during festival days. The air is expected to be more polluted compared to last year.
SAFAR has forecast that Diwali day (Sunday) is expected to record an air quality index (AQI) of 235. An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered to be poor and people with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are at risk. The following day , the condition is expected to worsen with an AQI forecast of 334. An AQI above 300 is considered to be very poor which means children, elderly and people with lung disease may find it difficult to breathe.
"Due to increased local emissions, there will be an increase of PM 10 and PM 2.5 in Mumbai. The most striking factor is the share of PM 2.5 (relatively more harmful than coarser particles) in PM 10 is expected to increase by 10-20% during the Diwali period, compared to normal days. The share of PM 2.5 will become 60-70%," said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR.
AFAR calculates the air quality index at 10 locations in the city jointly with IITM, India Meteorological Department and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting and local corporations. According to the forecast, Nerul is expected to be the most polluted while Colaba will be relatively cleaner than the rest.
Wind speeds will play a crucial role in cleaning up the city's air after the festival. "Winds in Mumbai until October 28 were south-westerly and remain the same during Diwali. The minimum temperature will increase by at least 2-3 degrees Celsius within a week. Wind speed may decrease slightly on October 29," said SAFAR's forecast.
Meanwhile, anti-noise crusaders have written to the city police after the deadline for bursting firecrackers on Sunday was extended to midnight."The Bombay High Court dated October 5, 2006, states that in our view, the state government and the police commissioner ought to take appropriate steps to inform the citizens that use of firecrackers is not permitted even on the two days i.e. Dhantrayodashi and Laxmipujan, beyond 10pm. The relaxation is available only with respect to loudspeakers and public address system between 10pm and 12 midnight on the aforesaid two days, but that is not for the use of sound-emitting firecrackers," said Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, Awaaz Foundation, in her letter to the police chief.
However, the Mumbai Police on Friday in a statement clarified bursting of crackersis allowed from 6am to 10pm only (for all days of Diwali). " As per the government order, on the day of Laxmipujan use of loudspeakers is allowed till 12 am," said the Mumbai Police PRO.
Sweep up the remains of fireworks or pay fine, says BMC
By Sanjeev Shivadekar | Posted 28-Oct-2016
This Diwali, sweep up remains of fireworks and dump them in dustbins that are close at hand before you leave for home
Promenades likes Marine Drive, Carter Road and Juhu are popular spots for revellers with fireworks to gather. File Pic
The BMC is determined to instill civic sense in those who drive in to the city's popular sea faces and promenades with car loads of fire crackers to burst, leaving behind mounds of garbage.
This year, you will be expected to sweep up the remains and dump them in dustbins that are close at hand before you leave for home. Not doing so will allow clean-up marshalls to fine you between Rs 150 and Rs 300. The teams are expected to patrol popular stretches starting tonight.
Vijay Balamwar, deputy municipal commissioner (solid waste management), said, the civic body doesn’t intend to play party pooper and sour Mumbai’s Diwali, and so, it’s only unruly large groups that come with huge quantities of crackers who will be expected to pay up. “The aim is to discourage people from littering at public places. Citizens should celebrate festivals, but while doing so, they cannot forget their civic responsibility,” he said.
Those caught bursting crackers beyond the 10 pm deadline will be booked by the police, he added.
×The BMC’s decision has received a mixed response. While Marine Drive residents have welcomed the move, noise and environment activists termed the idea counter-productive.
Sumaira Abdulali, founder of NGO Awaaz, said, “People may get discouraged and end up bursting crackers within their residential complexes and compounds, making things worse and dangerous on the noise and air pollution front. I’d advise the BMC to encourage Mumbaikars to gather at large open spaces like MMRDA grounds, where crackers can be lit up safely.”
33, resident of Marine Lines
It’s a good move. It'll ensure we are responsible for our actions. Most importantly, we can hope that children will watch and grow into adults with a civic responsibility. People should accept it and not target BMC workers who are doing their job. It would be a dream to see people have fun responsibly.
34, resident of Chira Bazaar
Bursting crackers is part of our culture, but not at the cost of others. Every morning, we find the BMC workers do their clean-up job well. But their plight is pitiable after Ganesh visarjan and Diwali. The BMC staff deserve respect, and it’s time we cleaned up after ourselves.
Police allow bursting of firecrackers till Sunday midnight, move upsets activistsTNN | Oct 28, 2016, 01.15 PM IST
MUMBAI: The Mumbai police has given permission to burst crackers up to midnight on Sunday on the occasion of Laxmi pujan. The move has upset activists in the city.
Ashok Dudhe, Mumbai police PRO, said Mumbaikars will be allowed to burst firecrackers up to 12 am. Anti-noise crusaders said this was against noise rules.
"According to noise rules, the extension is allowed up to midnight only for loudspeakers. If the police is giving permission for firecrackers, it isn't by the rules. We will write to them and the government as well," said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.She will be measuring decibel levels in the city on Sunday. Last year, Trombay, with an average decibel count of 90 on Diwali day, was the noisiest in the city. The peak noise recorded across the city was lower compared to 2014.
Top CommentI have respect for everyone''s sentiments and wish to offend none. Bursting fire crackers in crowded cities in India, has a number of ill-effects for the residents, especially old people and those s... Read MoreVincent Dsouza
According to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, residential and silence zones should have a maximum noise level of 55dB and 50dB in the day and 45dB and 40dB at the night, respectively.
Meanwhile, activists urged citizens to come out and complaint against noise violations.
Firecrackers test within noise limitsClara Lewis| TNN | Updated: Oct 18, 2016, 22:51 ISTRepresentative image
MUMBAI: For the first time ever, firecrackers were well within the permissible noiselimit of 125 dB. A few years ago all fire-crackers would be beyond the noise limit. Last year, four varieties of crackers were beyond the noise limit.
"The noise levels have been falling over the last three to four years but this year all of them were within the noise limit," said Sumaira Abdulali, convenor Awaaz Foundation. Abdulali has been testing fire-crackers for noise levels since 2004. Since 2006 the NGO has been carrying out joint tests with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). The tests reports are then sent to the police and the Explosives department to act on those violating the noise norms.
On Tuesday, MPCB along with Awaaz Foundation tested around 26 varities of fire- crackers at the Rashtriya Chemical Fertilisers ground, Chembur. The tests were carried out days before these arrive in the market for the festive season. "The Rassi bomb which is the noisiest cracker recorded a noise level of 99.9dB. In the past it would cross the 125 dB limit and has even reached 140 dB," said Abdulali. MPCB is yet to calculate the noise levels of serial crackers, she said. Abdulali, however, pointed out that while noise levels have dropped, air pollution caused by fire-crackers has visibly gone up. "We saw it at the ground today when testing the fire-crackers. Last year we had tested the crackers to understand what chemicals are used. We found harmful chemicals like Cadmium being used for the light effect. The MPCB is yet to release its report for last year," she said.
With the city already reeling under the ill-effects of air pollution from vehicles, dust, improper disposal of waste etc activists are worried that the fire-crackers will only add to the problem. "It will be in the city's interest if residents do not use fire-crackers at all this Diwali," she said. Meanwhile the state government has warned it will take action against those violating noise rules during the festive season. It has said noise rules cannot be relaxed in silence zones where the noise limit is 50 dB during the day and 40 dB at night.
No firecrackers banned in Maharashtra, noise levels below safe limits: MPCBOfficials said individual noise levels from serial and single crackers was calculated by their scientific officers and decibel (dB) levels were found to be below permissible limit MUMBAI Updated: Oct 29, 2016 12:21 IST
MPCB officials and members from Awaz Foundation test firecrackers at Jawahar ground in Chembur October 18.The state pollution control board has approved the use of all 26 types of firecrackers that were tested for noise levels on October 18 in Mumbai. However, the result for a chemical analysis test of the firecrackers is yet to be issued b the board.
Officials from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) told HT on Thursday that individual noise levels from serial (1000 series) as well as single crackers, was calculated by their scientific officers and the decibel (dB) levels were found to be below the permissible limit of 125 dB .
“Apart from testing crackers in Mumbai, we have received reports of similar firecracker testing done across the state over the past week. Noise from none of the crackers surpassed safe limit under noise rules,” said VM Motghare, joint director, MPCB. “We submitted our findings to the Controller of Explosives, Nagpur with a conclusion that none of the crackers should be banned this year.”
On October 18, the annual testing by MPCB and anti-noise campaigner Awaaz Foundation, found the noise levels from serial crackers (1000 series) to be at a maximum of 116 – 118 dB (1000 series at 116.2dB). The testing was done in an open ground in Rashtriya Chemical and Fertiliser (RCF) colony, Chembur, 12 days before Diwali.
While permissible limits for single crackers is 125 decibels (dB), a series of crackers (ladi) have limits between 90 decibel (dB) and 110dB, depending on the number of crackers put together. “For serial crackers, noise from each individual cracker from the series was tested and a logarithmic analysis showed that individual crackers were below 110 dB limit,” said Motghare.
Meanwhile, the results for the chemical analysis of the crackers are yet to be received from the pollution board’s laboratory. “While some of the crackers showed release of thick smoke and could have traces of lead and zinc, it is yet to be confirmed from our lab,” said Motghare.
Anti-noise activists said that there was a drop in noise levels due to enforcement as well as awareness. “During 2012, firecracker testing by different groups clearly showed a 100% violation for all firecrackers. While awareness has resulted in a lesser use of firecrackers, over the years, the firecracker testing done by our NGO, the pollution board and several complaints to the Controller of Explosives and the police that led to better enforcement and the manufacture of less noisy crackers,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
What to do if noise levels are breached around you this Diwali?
#Measure noise levels using free downloadable App on iPhone or android phone.
#Take a photograph of the measurement for your records.
#Complain to Police Control Room by dialing 100 and get a complaint number.
· In case of continued violation, message the police on Twitter (@MumbaiPolice) or lodge a complaint on their website (https://mumbaipolice.maharashtra.gov.in/complaint.asp).
#Send a copy to Awaaz Foundation’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Facebook page ‘Get Well Soon Mumbai’.
#Follow up on your complaints by filing additional complaints as needed. Get a complaint number every time.
#Write to assistant commissioner of police, deputy commissioner of police and commissioner, Mumbai with copy to Awaaz Foundation. The letter or email should contain the date, time, silence, residential or other zone, name of concerned police station, source of noise (type of cracker used), complaint number and status of action taken.
In a first, pollution board to check noise levels this Diwali
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said that they will for the first time record noise readings at 158 locations across 26 municipal corporations across Maharashtra along with calculating air quality levels.
“We recorded ambient noise at all 158 locations on October 24 to adjudge the noise levels during a non-Diwali day and have background readings. On October 30, the same test will be conducted along with air quality analysis throughout the state. The readings will be compared to national ambient air quality standards and put up on our website,” said VM Motghare, joint director, MPCB.
Oct 15, 2016 at 13:02
Ahead Of Diwali, Delhi Govt Goes For The Complete Ban On Chinese Firecrackersby Sreeraj TK
In a bid to reduce the noise levels during this Diwali season, the government of Delhi has asked for a complete ban on Chinese-made imported firecrackers.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has written letters to the police commissioner and issuing directions under Section 31(A) of Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, for prohibiting the import and sale of harmful crackers in Delhi.
A representational image | Source: Reuters“No one should import firecrackers from any country and the customs shall ensure that consignments which violate prescribed norm are not allowed to enter Delhi,” reads the order.
A 1992 notification by the government of India banned firecrackers that contained ‘sulphur’ and ‘sulphurate’ in mixture with chlorate. These firecrackers are generally known as Chinese firecrackers. Despite there being a ban, authorities have failed to keep a tab on illegal imports over the years,reports Indian Express.
A representational image | Source: PTIChinese firecrackers also have serious economic implications as they pose threat India's domestic industry at Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu. Indian manufacturers have to pay several taxes which ultimately increases the prices of Indian crackers.
On the other hand, Chinese crackers which are imported illegally are way cheaper than their Indian counterparts. They thus capture the Indian markets, bringing a huge loss to the domestic industry, reports The Hindu.
However, environmental experts feel that a lot more needs to be done.
"Imported firecrackers which are manufactured in China are extremely harmful because it is difficult to know whether they come under the prescribed noise limits. Indian-made firecrackers are relatively safer because one can say that they are checked at the time of manufacturing", Sumaira Abdulali from Awaaz Foundation told ScoopWhoop News.
A representational image | Source: AFPHowever, she cautioned that Indian firecrackers aren't completely safe either. "Even Indian firecrackers often flout the permissible limits. Plus, it cannot be confirmed that Indian manufacturers are following the prescribed norms."
"The move is a step in the right direction but won't be effective at all. In a place like Delhi, where air pollution levels are also alarming, the government should altogether ban the use of firecrackers," she said.
(With inputs from PTI)
(Feature image source: Reuters)
Shiv Sena’s Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park flouts noise regulations
Anti-noise activists Awaaz Foundation and Shivaji Park-based Wecom trust took noise readings from 6pm onwards until 9pm and found sound levels breaching rules — from political speeches, loudspeakers playing music, drums and others within the Shivaji Park ground.
MUMBAI Updated: Oct 12, 2016 00:26 IST
The crowd at the rally at Shivaji Park, Dadar.(KUNAL PATIL/HT)
Noise levels at the Shiv Sena’s Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park, Dadar, on Tuesday were much above permissible limit for a Silence Zone. The noise blared at 98.9 decibels (dB), which is almost as loud as a discotheque.
According to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the sound levels within a Silence Zone cannot exceed 50dB.
Last year, senior Shiv Sena leader and state environment minister Ramdas Kadam’s speech was the loudest at 97.4dB.
Anti-noise activists Awaaz Foundation and Shivaji Park-based Wecom trust took noise readings from 6pm onwards until 9pm and found sound levels breaching rules — from political speeches, loudspeakers playing music, drums and others within the Shivaji Park ground.
“The rally was much louder than the ones in previous years and there has been no attempt to maintain noise rules this time. The norms were flouted despite police presence. Any officer I spoke to did not seem to carry a decibel meter,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
While the maximum sound levels from speeches from the announcer was recorded at 94.7dB, the reading during Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s speech was 85.4dB. Subhash Desai’s peaked at 97.6dB.
On May 5, 2010, the Bombay High Court (HC) had declared Shivaji Park a Silence Zone while hearing a petition filed by Wecom, a residents’ trust. It had said that any violation of the rule will invite stringent action from the state.
The NGOs alleged that Shiv Sena had not taken permission from the HC for use of loudspeakers this year.
The Supreme Court’s guidelines on noise pollution prohibit the use of loudspeakers at places located within 100m of a hospital, school, court, or a religious place, known as a ‘Silence Zone’.
While a Shiv Sena spokesperson said that the party had received permission from the Mumbai police, Paramjit Singh Dahiya, deputy commissioner of police, Zone 5, confirmed that the Shivaji Park police station had given permission for the use loudspeakers on Tuesday. However, he did not comment on the court orders.
“The police have committed contempt of court by allowing the breach of noise rules,” said Ashok Ravat, member, Wecom Trust, adding that the petitioners were not notified about any permission for the use of loudspeakers.
He cited a comprehensive Bombay High Court order that not only bans the use of loudspeakers at Silence Zones but even drums, horns, trumpets and music through amplifiers.
“We will be taking the matter to the Bombay HC as our case is up of hearing on Thursday,” said Ravat.
Meanwhile, noise levels from various Dusshera processions too, breached norms on Tuesday. Awaaz Foundation recorded noise from one procession at Shivaji Park, Dadar at 105 dB, abother at Mahim was 98 dB.
Copyright © HT Media Limited All rights reserved.
Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.