The noise levels across Mumbai dropped to a new low this Diwali with people refraining from bursting crackers in most parts of the city under ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Shivaji Park recorded 105.5 dB due to rassi bomb, anaar, and sparklers, the highest noise levels recorded on Saturday in city.
Awaaz Foundation noted a decline from highest noise levels recorded at 117.8 dB in 2017 to 105.5 dB this year— a 10 per cent drop.
“People burst crackers in housing society and reported they could hear noise of crackers but not loud enough like previous years. Nobody complained of persistent fireworks in their neighbourhood,” said Sumaira Abdulali, from Awaaz Foundation.
Marine Drive, which until last year was the noisiest, saw a considerable drop with only few buildings bursting crackers within compound walls.
With an aim to curb crowding and inconvenience to Covid-19 patients, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) this year banned fireworks in private and public places like Marine Drive, Chowpatty, Shivaji Park, making an exception only for Saturday when people could use sparklers and mild crackers only in private spaces like building compounds and homes. Fire crackers were banned in all public places. Residents made a conscious effort to cause less pollution, with more than 10,077 actively infected Covid-19 patients either under home or institutional isolation.
Abdulali said she found firecrackers in violation to BMC order in Shivaji Park but not at Marine Drive, Bandra Talao, Worli Sea face. “We could not record noise levels in private housing societies due to permission issues,” she said. In Shivaji Park, where elaborate fireworks are undertaken every year, people gathered this year too, many without masks. The Bombay High Court has declared Shivaji Park a silence zone and crackers were permitted in private spaces till 10 pm. On a good note, the area around the park saw a drop in noise levels from previous years — from 114.1 dB in 2018 to 112.8 dB in 2019 to 105.5 dB this year.
People also switched to milder crackers like anaar, chakri, sparklers with scattered air rockets but very few used rassi bomb and loud crackers.
Last year, people continued to burst crackers even after deadline of 10 pm, this year even that trend changed.
Meanwhile, the BMC discharged at least 850 Covid-19 patients on Diwali. City’s overall recovery rate stands at 91 per cent now.
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