Third time unlucky: MPCB fails to check how harmful firecrackers are
While the MPCB did not release findings of the test in 2015, a similar test conducted by Awaaz Foundation found high levels of mercury, lead and sulphur in firecrackers.mumbai Updated: Oct 18, 2017 20:54 IST
Like the past two years, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has failed to conduct a chemical analysis of firecrackers available in Mumbai this year too, claim members of NGO Awaaz Foundation.
The analysis will give citizens an idea on how harmful a firecracker is, so they can decide which ones to buy.
While the MPCB did not release findings of the test in 2015, a similar test conducted by Awaaz Foundation found high levels of mercury, lead and sulphur in firecrackers.
During the testing of firecrackers for noise levels at Chembur on October 4, the MPCB officials had told HT they would come out with the results of the chemical analysis by October 11. Awaaz Foundation on Wednesday alleged the MPCB took the firecrackers for testing only on Tuesday.
“The MPCB needs to issue results [of chemical analysis] well in advance to make citizens aware. If results are declared after Diwali, it does not serve the purpose of reducing air or noise pollution during the festival,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation. “MPCB needs to display the chemical analysis results on their website.”
When HT contacted VM Motghare, joint director, air quality, MPCB, he told the reporter the results would be declared on Wednesday itself. However, after repeated attempts to reach him thereafter, he refused to comment. A senior official from MPCB said, “The chemical analysis has not been conducted so far. All crackers were sent for testing on Wednesday morning.”
HT last week reported about a study by the Central Pollution Control Board which said people exposed to copper, sulphur and charcoal in firecrackers are at a risk of contracting carcinogenic (potential to cause cancer) diseases and the presence of nitrates is dangerous for children and unborn babies.
During the firecracker testing, scientists tested the air quality of a few firecrackers for particulate matter (PM10) – small pollutant particles that can easily enter the respiratory system. The board found the on the spot pollution levels for Man Pasand (Shell) from Anil Fireworks was 4,000 microgrammes for a cubic metre (µg/m3), much higher than the safe limit of 100µg/m3 for eight hours.
Another cracker called Rainbow Fog from Standard Fireworks had coloured smoke.
“We witnessed a significant rise in noiseless fancy firecrackers that emanate a large amount of smoke, which is dangerous for children and senior citizens. We request citizens not to purchase these firecrackers,” said SC Kollur, chief scientist, MPCB.