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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

3 crackers violating noise rules need to be banned this year: MPCB

mumbai Updated: Oct 19, 2019 00:42 IST

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has recommended banning three types of firecrackers this Diwali for violating noise rules.

In a first for Maharashtra, MPCB will be monitoring air quality and dust pollution to check for chemical compounds (in the air) from October 20 till Diwali (October 27) and for the next seven days (till November 3) across 18 cities in Maharashtra, including Mumbai.

“This will give us an idea about the impact of external emissions, such as firecrackers and banned chemicals in them, on our health,” said VM Motghare, joint director (air quality), MPCB. In all, 23 air quality stations in Maharashtra will have real time data with 13 in Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

In the annual pre-Diwali firecracker testing, the MPCB and NGO Awaaz Foundation tested 29 types of crackers at Rashtriya Chemical Fertiliser (RCF) Colony, Chembur, on Friday. While one green cracker, which has 30% lesser emissions than traditional crackers and no barium nitrate, was tested, noise levels from traditional firecrackers were the highest since 2016.

The noisiest cracker was a pack of 16 sky shots (Crackling delight from Ajanta Fireworks), which recorded 126 decibels (dB) (as loud as a thunderclap). A ladi (string of crackers tied together) of 5,000 crackers, called Celebration Akira 5000, recorded 121.3 dB while another ladi of 1,000 crackers from Guru Fireworks recorded 113.6 dB. The permissible limit for single crackers is 125 dB but for a ladi, the safe limit is between 90 dB and 110dB, depending upon the number of crackers put together. “These three firecrackers that violated noise norms need to be banned. The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) will be informed to remove them from circulation by next year,” said MPCB.

The only single green cracker that was tested recorded 108.3 dB against the safe limit of 125 dB. Overall firecracker noise ranged between 83.5-126 dB.

MPCB recommended the ban of two crackers last year, and two in 2017 but PESO said they were not sure whether they were actually banned. “Recommendations are considered but if chemical composition is proper, crackers are allowed. However, now green crackers are the only ones permitted by us,” said MK Jhala, joint chief controller of explosives, PESO.

Awaaz Foundation said they will be informing the Mumbai police to ensure the three crackers are taken out of circulation this Diwali itself. “Green crackers are in their nascent stage and I do not think there is going to be significant reduction in noise this year. However, unless noisy crackers violating norms are removed, there is a serious health risk for citizens, especially children,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.

MPCB will monitor noise across 27 municipal corporations at 158 locations before and after Diwali, and across 10 stations in Mumbai from October 24.