With little happening to make crackers eco-friendly, the state government is planning to ensure that Diwali this year is less noisy and tolerable.
Now, people will be allowed to burst crackers only on the premises of their housing societies or at a nearest playground. The state, in a bid to impose a blanket ban on bursting of crackers on roads and footpaths, has asked the civic body to either designate special areas to burst crackers or direct people to open spaces close to their houses.
Apart from this, the state environment department has sought the help of the city police to ensure that the 10pm deadline to burst crackers is not violated. The police have been asked to increase surveillance to make sure citizens abide by the noise pollution norms.
Also, the city police have acquired 300 new decibel meters, which will be put to use during Diwali.
“We can’t impose a ban on loud firecrackers because the Supreme Court has allowed firecrackers up to 125 decibels. But we definitely hope to make this Diwali safe and environment-friendly,” said environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh.
Singh wrote to civic commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya and police commissioner Sanjeev Dayal on Monday, apprising them of the state’s decisions on firecrackers and seeking their cooperation.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, along with the explosives department, will also carry out random checks on firecrackers to ascertain whether the chemical composition and decibel levels mentioned on the label are accurate.
“This is the first time we are doing the tests in association with the explosives department. If the information displayed is inaccurate, the entire batch of firecrackers will be banned and the licence of the seller will be revoked,” said Singh.
The civic body has been asked to choose certain wards where the people could gather to celebrate Diwali. Playgrounds such as Shivaji Park, Oval Maidan and Azad Maidan will be a few of the designated spots.
Meanwhile, the environment department has asked the school education department to circulate an oath that will be taken by all schoolchildren to celebrate Diwali in a safe way.