City breaks noise barrier
Short messaging service (SMS) campaigns advocating a quiet Diwali, advertisements asking citizens to follow the 10-pm deadline for bursting crackers and children lining up on Peddar Road with banners propagating a noiseless Diwali: None worked, reports HT Correspondents.mumbai Updated: Oct 20, 2009 01:06 IST
Short messaging service (SMS) campaigns advocating a quiet Diwali, advertisements asking citizens to follow the 10-pm deadline for bursting crackers and children lining up on Peddar Road with banners propagating a noiseless Diwali: None worked.
This Diwali, crackers kept the city awake way beyond the 10 pm deadline.
Silent zones, earmarked this year following the Bombay High Court’s intervention, were far from silent and environmental activists were swamped with complaints.
Sumaira Abdulali, of the Awaaz Foundation — which monitors noise levels — received at least 40 complaints of the 10-pm deadline being violated and crackers being burst even near major hospitals like KEM in Parel and Breach Candy in Warden Road, both silent zones.
“There was no police presence anywhere,” said Abdulali. “While citizens have become more aware, we still need the authorities to enforce the deadline and patrol silent zones.”
But Sheela Sail, deputy commissioner of police (enforcement), said, “We have not received any complaints regarding noise pollution on Diwali night in silent zones.”
A Linking Road resident who did not wish to be identified said this Diwali was worse than last year’s. “Since I have an asthma problem, I had to close my windows because of cracker smoke. People were bursting crackers till 3 am on Sunday.”
The noise, however, was only restricted to the last three days instead of a week as is the usual practice, said Carter Road resident, Roshan Dabhoiwala.
There were pockets where citizens did not need monitoring. At Marine Drive most people voluntarily stopped bursting crackers at 10 pm.
“By 11 pm everything was quiet,” said Sunayana Sadarangani, a Marine Drive resident. “Earlier, Diwali would be a nightmare. A lot of children have given up on crackers this year. And when I went for a walk at 6 am, it (the promenade) was sparkling clean.”
The municipal corporation removed about 16 tonnes of cracker waste from Marine Drive on Sunday morning.
At Kalyan’s Lok Gram Society, which has been paving the way for a noiseless and pollution-free Diwali since 2004, more than 100 children did not burst crackers.
(Inputs by Kiran Wadhwa, Tasneem Nashrulla, Aarefa Johari & Bhavika Jain)