Diwali is a few days away and people are flocking to stalls and shops at Mohammed Ali Road to buy fire crackers, mostly noise-free ones that are in great demand this year.
While some cracker vendors said the rising trend could be attributed to growing awareness of environment and noise pollution among people, others said it could be because loud crackers are more expensive.
“This year the noise-free crackers are the most popular items at our shop. We have witnessed around 25% dip in the sales of loud crackers compared to last year,” said Abdulla Ghia, director, Essabhai Fireworks, one of the oldest firework shops in the city. “With schools promoting noise-free Diwali celebrations, many children ask for colourful and noise-free crackers.”
Abdul Gaffar, owner of Lalubhai and Co fireworks stall, said this year they witnessed a 50% decrease in the sales of noisy crackers.
“Noisy crackers cost anywhere between Rs250 and Rs1,500 for a standard box whereas noise-free crackers are in the price range of Rs50 to Rs500,” said Gaffar.
Jayant Kale, a Lower Parel resident, said, “I enjoy the sight of the colourful lights more than the noise. So, we buy ground-based crackers and aerial rockets.”
“My son enjoys bursting crackers but we allow him to burst noise-free ones,” said Rakshita Joshi, a resident of Grant Road.
Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and non-governmental organisation Awaaz Foundation, during a testing of noise levels last week, found that only two of the 25 brands crossed permissible noise limits (single crackers - 125 decibels (dB) and serial crackers - 90dB and 110dB).
Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz, had told HT: “We have seen a drop in decibel levels over the years. However, the decline has not been enough to safeguard anybody’s health.”