This Diwali might be a quieter one than last year. According to a report from a noise test conducted on Wednesday, firecrackers could be getting less noisy.
The test was jointly carried out by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and non-government organisation (NGO) Awaaz Foundation as part of an annual pre-Diwali exercise at Royal Chemical Fertiliser (RCF) colony, Chembur.
The test found that a combination of serial crackers and rockets (shooting crackers) reached 115dB. A noise level 117dB was recorded from a series of 5000 small crackers (ladi) crossing permissible limits for serial crackers — 90dB and 110dB.
“We have been conducting these tests over the years and seen a drop in decibel levels to the highest this time being 117dB. We have seen sound levels as high as 140 dB. However, the decline has not been enough to safeguard anybody’s health,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
Around 25 firecrackers were tested at an open ground. Noise levels were recorded five metres from point of bursting.
Abdulali said while testing the crackers, an ideal situation is created where only one cracker is burst at a time. “During festivals, these crackers are bust continuously increasing noise levels plus the air pollution,” she said
Officials said that the main idea for conducting this test is to create public awareness and make sure the citizens do not buy crackers that may be harmful with regard to noise or air pollution.
“These activities we have been carrying out for last nine years. The crackers that record noise levels above permissible limits are noted along with the brand producing them and the details are forwarded,” said VM Motghare, joint director, MPCB.
However, officials from the controller of explosives or the police personnel, who regulate the sale of these crackers, were not present during the testing.
A worker from a firecracker manufacturing company at Jalgaon told HT that strict regulations had been levied by the office of the controller of explosives.
“Earlier, there were no specific checks by different authorities. But now, even before our products leave the factory, regular checks are done. We are also trying to make sure to produce more single crackers than those in the form of series to decrease high noise levels,” said the worker.
Chemical testing of the same firecrackers will also be done in the coming days at government-approved laboratories by MPCB and Awaaz Foundation.