Noise levels across Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad showed an overall downward trend on two out of the three main days of Diwali festival , according to figures released by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). The MPCB on Wednesday released a comparative datasheet of noise levels recorded on the three most important days of Diwali across three years: 2014, 2015 and 2016.
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The figures released by the Board show that on the day of Lakshmi puja — which is celebrated with fervour by traders, businessmen and shopkeepers alike — noise levels remained steady or rose at several locations. However, Padwa and Bhau Beej saw a consistent downward trend, as compared to 2014 and 2015.
The data was collected by the Board at 15 locations — Shivajinagar near Sakhar Sankul, Nal Stop, Satara Road, Swargate, Yerawada, Khadki, Kothrud, Shaniwarwada, Laxmi Road, Mandai, Saras Bag, Koregaon Park, Delux Talkies Chowk in Pimpri and two more locations in Chinchwad. However, the downward trend was not seen in densely populated and market areas, where noise levels rose.
Noise levels remained much higher than the permissible limit of 50 decibels in ‘silent zones’, and 55 decibels in residential areas, the figures show.
Pointing out that this was a positive change, Prakash Munde, MPCB’s sub-regional officer for Pune, said, “We have observed an overall downward trend in noise levels during Diwali, from 2014 to 2016, which indicates a significant reduction in the use of noisy firecrackers. Residential areas, especially housing societies, have shown a very positive trend in this direction. It shows that people have reduced the use of noisy firecrackers on their own. This is a positive sign…”But he added, “There is a long way to go and our efforts will continue till the noise levels are brought under permissible levels.”
“We also need to appreciate the role played by police and NGOs in regulating the use of firecrackers and spreading awareness about noise pollution,” said the MPCB officer.
A senior officer from Pune city police said, “The deputy commissioners of police of four zones had given instructions to individual police stations to keep a check on the sale of noisy firecrackers. An exercise was also held by MPCB, some NGOs and police officers to check the noise levels of particular types of crackers and those which created a lot of noise were not allowed to be sold.”
Ankit Gore, an IT professional and a resident of Pashan, said, “Fewer noisy firecrackers were used in several residential societies in Pashan. We still won’t call the noise level bearable, especially considering the trouble these firecrackers cause to elderly persons, babies and animals. But if more and more people decide on their own to stop using noisy firecrackers, we can hope for environment-friendly celebrations.”