As the country prepares to rein in the sound demon during the Diwali festivities, here’s an example to follow. Bengal, this time, is all set to celebrate the nation’s quietest Diwali. Though a recent Supreme Court verdict has capped the decibel level of firecrackers at 125 decibels, the state pollution control board has capped the noise level at 90 decibels. This is after the eastern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave a freehand to the state pollution control board to set the noise ceiling in West Bengal.
A senior official of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) told HT, “Wehave been given a free hand to set the noise ceiling for crackers. Wewill keep the upper limit at 90 decibels. It would not be raised to125 decibels as demanded by a section of people. This means most ofthe fire crackers would be banned in the state.”
Sources in the WBPCB said that the board would come up with a notification setting the noise ceiling at 90 decibels as soon as they receive the NGT order. The order is likely to reach the pollution control board’s office on Friday. Once the notification is done, Bengal will be the only state in the country where the stategovernment has set the noise limit for fire crackers at 90 decibels.In all other states, it is 125 decibels.
“The NGT’s decision came a day after the Supreme Court refused to banbursting of fire crackers during Diwali. The apexcourt’s direction was a big blow for the environment lobby. However, the green lobby in West Bengal has reason to cheer,” said Biswajit Mukherjee, former chief environment law officer of the statepollution control board.
It was in May this year that the NGT had relaxed the firecracker noiseceiling in West Bengal from 90 decibel at 5metres from the point of origin to 125 decibel at 4metres. The 90decibel norm has been in force in the state since 1997following a judgment of the Calcutta High Court. In other states, theceiling is 125 decibel. “The relaxation meant that several crackers such as chocolate bombs,kali pataka and dodoma, which were earlier banned, became legal andcould be sold openly,” said Babla Roy, chairman of the fire crackers manufacturers association.