THIS DIWALI was billed as the great showdown between the bang-bang vs the anti-bang brigade.
In the first half of the Diwali day, the anti-bang volunteers were smiling. For the sound pollution, according to popular perception, appeared to be less than the previous years. But, by night the city exploded and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board recorded it.
So, when the teams of the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) went around the town on the Diwali day, they observed that though awareness about cracker hazards had increased, still the decibel meters recorded sound pollution well above the prescribed levels at almost all the places.
At 21 places in the city, sound was measured twice by the UPPCB team members—first between 10 am and 4 pm and then from 7 pm till midnight. The UPPCB members divided the entire city in four zones—commercial, residential, industrial and no-noise zones like hospital and near court premises.
Bhootnath market, Indiranagar, Nishatganj market, Hazratganj, Aminabad, Alambagh and Kaiserbagh areas were included in the commercial areas of the city. Here, sound pollution was the highest in Kaiserbagh (81.3 decibel) in the early half while Alambagh area recorded the highest sound pollution (93.6 dbl).
The permissible decibel level in commercial areas is 65 dbl.
Similarly, in residential areas, the bang-bang appeared to be the loudest in old city both in the early half (71.2 dbl) as well as at night (93.7 dbl). The permissible decibel level in residential areas is 55 dbl.
The story in industrial areas was no different with Chinhat recording 77.3 dbl and Aishbagh (89.6 dbl) bursting the decibel barrier at night. The limit in industrial areas is 75 dbl. The bang-bang brigade didn’t spare no-noise areas like hospitals too. UPPCB meters recorded a whopping 70.2 dbl and 92.6 dbl at both times of the day.
Says KK Sharma, UPPCB chief engineer, “sound pollution did increase by about 10 per cent this year on Diwali. At the same time it was evident that people gradually were becoming more aware. Had it not been so, the sound pollution level would have been far higher.”
Meanwhile, Our Earth, an environmental magazine too conducted its own sound pollution survey on Diwali day.
“We found that sound pollution was higher in residential areas,” said MM Agarwal, secretary of the society that publishes the magazine.