Sound and fury muted during Diwali, but air pollution worrisome
This Diwali, the level of noise from bursting crackers has come down to 113.5dB from last year’s 123 dB (Abhinav P Kocharekar)
DNA CORRESPONDENT | Wed, 2 Nov 2016-06:55am , Mumbai , DNAEven the trend of lighting crackers a few days before and after Diwali came down to a major extent this year
The city decided to keep its noise levels in check while celebrating Diwali, delighting anti- noise pollution activists who have been running several campaigns to avoid noisy crackers. The maximum noise level on Sunday night was 113.5 dB -- down from last year's 123 dB. Even the trend of lighting crackers a few days before and after Diwali came down to a major extent this year, say activists.
"Since firecrackers were manufactured at lower decibel levels (as recorded in a joint testing of crackers by Awaaz Foundation and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board), even when time-limit violations occurred, the decibel levels were lower," said Sumaira Abdulali, Convenor of Awaaz Foundation, which has been leading the fight against noise pollution.
However, she said that while Mumbaikars might have used fewer crackers, time limit was a problem. "Even at very prominent locations like Marine Drive, the loudest firecrackers were used after 10 pm, despite police presence. The highest reading of 113.5dB was recorded around 11.15pm in Marine Drive," said Abdulali.
Dr Mahesh Bedekar, a gynaecologist who runs a hospital in Thane and who had filed a Public Interest Litigtion (PIL) against noise during religious festivals, said that increasing awareness, especially among children and youth, played a crucial role.
"It is a huge relief that youngsters are keeping away from noisy crackers, compared to five years ago. In the coming years, we are hopeful to see even these noise levels reducing and lesser crackers being burst," he said.
No let-up in air pollutionWhile you might have escaped the effects of noise pollution in Mumbai, the air you inhaled was a cause of worry.
According to the readings collated by System for Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the air quality index for (prominent pollutant- PM2.5) in Mumbai was 278 (ranked 'Poor') on Diwali day and 315 (ranked 'Very poor') after Diwali.
The SAFAR portal also listed the least and most polluted areas during Diwali. While Malad was the highest polluted, Andheri, Nerul, BKC, Chembur, Mazgaon, Worli, Bhandup, Colaba and Borivli saw the least pollution.
Officials from the Regional Meteorological Centre, Mumbai, said that the wind saved Mumbai from the effects of aggravated air pollution. Speedy wind ensured that the sky was clear and the impact of pollution was not very severe, they said.
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Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.