This Diwali could be deafening for Mumbaiites. The firecrackers could be noisier this year than in previous years, revealed tests carried out by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Awaaz Foundation in Wadala on Tuesday.
Out of the 17 varieties of firecrackers that were tested, four exceeded the maximum decibel (dB) limit of 125 dB for single firecrackers and two exceeded the 105 dB limit of series firecrackers.
“This year, we might have even noisier firecrackers, which is unfortunate considering that there is increasing awareness about noise pollution,” said Sumaira Abdulali, managing trustee of Awaaz. “Earlier, only the sutli bombs crossed the maximum limit, but this year even the aerial bombs have crossed the permissible noise limit.”
While the test results will be forwarded to the state government for appropriate action to be taken, Abdulali said the environment department would take a final decision.
“After that, it is for the police to ensure that the rules are followed,” she added.
The tests were conducted on a sample of firecrackers available in the market. The loudest firecracker tested was the ‘Thunderbomb’, which showed a reading of 130 dB.
The MPCB will forward these findings to the explosives department. “We will compile a report and send them a letter listing which firecrackers failed to meet the norms,” said SC Kollur, scientific officer, MPCB.
On Tuesday, the groups also tested the amount of air pollution caused by different firecrackers by measuring the air quality before and after bursting them. They used a device called a Respirable Dust Sampler. The findings for the air pollution measurement would be available in a day.
This is the fourth year that such tests are being conducted. In 2008, the police had conducted a drive to confiscate sutli bombs, after they were found to be louder than the permissible noise level.