Call it an outcome of residents’ will to observe an eco-friendly Diwali, the thrill of burning crackers that often results in tragedies such as incidents of fire, burn injuries and scuffles, besides causing pollution, failed to hamper the festivities this year.
The festival, by and large, passed off peacefully, inflicting less damage to the environment as compared to previous years.
Incidents of fire: As many as 20 incidents of fire were reported on Diwali night — including two from Tarn Taran. Of the 18 incidents in the Amritsar district, majority were reported from narrow lanes of the walled city area, said fire officials. While some were caused by short circuits, a majority of incidents took place due to stray firecrackers.
The fire department has pressed all eight tenders into services to tackle the situation, including at Tarn Taran. “All incidents were minor and managed easily. There was no casualty in any of these incidents,” said fire officer Sadiq Masih.
Fire incidents on Diwali:
Year number of incidents
2014 20 (18 Amritsar, 2 Tarn Taran)
Burn and other injuries:
Senior medical officer (SMO) at the civil hospital Dr HS Ghai said government hospitals hardly received any major burn case this Diwali night, except two minor cases.
“Even the patients with minor burns were sent home after administering first aid,” he said.
As per Dr Ghai, even as 20 cases of injuries caused by scuffles over burning of crackers were reported last year, this year the number did not exceed seven.
Air and noise pollution: As per Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) executive engineer Kuldeep Singh, the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) and noise pollution levels were quite low this year as compared to previous years.
“The pollution data for Diwali night is yet to be compiled, but the level of pollution was low, as there had been a steady decline in burning crackers,” he said.
As per past years data of the PPCB, the RSPM level in the sensitive area (GTB civil hospital) in stood at 401ug/m3 in 2011, 390 in 2012 and 371 in 2013, while in commercial areas the RSPM was recorded at 370 ug/m3 in 2011, 358 in 2012 and 370 in 2013. In sensitive areas like the Golden Temple, it was recorded at 342 ug/m3 in 2011, 361 in 2012 and 350 in 2013. The RSPM level in residential areas on Diwali day was recorded at 349 ug/m3 in 2011, 360 in 2012 and 345 in 2013.
From 74 decibel in 2012, the noise pollution level in the vicinity of the Golden Temple came down to 73 in 2013 on Diwali day. In residential areas, it was recorded at 66 decibel in 2013, as compared to 67 in 2012; while in sensitive areas it was recorded at 63 decibel in 2013 as compared to 65 in 2012; and in commercial areas it was 70 in 2013 as compared to 73 in 2012 on Diwali day.