Residents of Noida burst crackers worth Rs. 4 crore this Diwali. The sale of fireworks did not decline despite awareness campaigns by social welfare groups and local pollution board authorities.
“We sold crackers worth around Rs. 4 crore this Diwali. Last year, we only sold crackers worth Rs. 3.5 crore,” said Rakesh Kumar, a fireworks merchant.
Diwali revellers were bursting crackers till the wee hours in Noida and Greater Noida areas, causing air and noise pollution and in gross violation of the Supreme Court directive.
The apex court on October 27, 2015, refused a ban on crackers, but reiterated its direction that crackers could not be burst between 10pm and 6am. However, no one was booked for bursting firecrackers beyond the permissible time limit.
“We promoted and campaigned for a cracker-free Diwali to discourage the use of fireworks. We received 2-3 complaints on cracker bursting after 10pm. Police reached the spot and stopped those responsible immediately.,” said Kiran S, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Gautam Budh Nagar.
NP Singh, Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate, said, “I had instructed the SSP, Gautam Budh Nagar, to implement the Supreme Court’s order. I had also directed school authorities to educate students on the issue.”
“I could not sleep because residents kept bursting crackers till 4am in my apartment complex, compound and park. My pet panicked every time a cracker went off. It was quite frustrating,” said Kavita Singh, resident of Sector 50. Local authorities said they had only allowed crackers that produced sound between 125 decibels and 145 decibels. Under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, 125 dB is the average permissible limit for noise from firecrackers.
But flouting norms, many licensed sellers sold firecrackers that would generate sounds of 200 dB, due to huge demand and the cheap cost of procurement.
“Crackers that produce sound above 200 dB were in huge demand among children,” Kumar said.