“If rules prohibit, how can you permit the manufacturing of firecrackers with noise intensity beyond the permissible decibel level?” the Bombay high court questioned the state government on Thursday.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Vazifdar was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by city-based non-governmental organisation ‘Society for Fast Justice’ seeking various directives to curb the noise pollution caused by bursting firecrackers during Diwali.
The bench suggested that the authorities should try to control the noise pollution at its source, the manufacturing of firecrackers. “Control can be exercised only at the source,” the judges said.
Bhagwanji Rahiyani, representing the petitioner organisation, pointed out that the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had laid down noise standards for firecrackers in its October 5, 1999 notification.
The notification prohibits manufacturing of firecrackers that create noise exceeding 125 decibel (db) at a distance of four meters from the spot of bursting.
Additional government pleader Bharat Mehta pointed out that the explosives department was responsible for the implementation of the notification.
So, the court directed the chief controller of explosives to submit an affidavit stating the norms, if any, to specify which category of firecrackers had decibel level higher than the upper limit stipulated under the Noise Control Regulations of 2000 till March 8.
Among the other directives, the society has also sought a mandatory mention of the noise level of the firecrackers on their packs.
Rahiyani also added that, as per the survey conducted by Awaz Foundation, last Diwali was the nosiest for Mumbai.
The statistics furnished by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, however, indicate that the noise level has dropped by an average of 10 db between the Diwalis of 2007 and 2009.