It WAS a comparatively quieter Diwali for Mumbaikars this year,with the maximum noise level recorded at 124 decibels (dB) in August Kranti Maidan as opposed to 127 dB recorded at Marine Drive last year.
According to Awaaz Foundation,an NGO,which records noise levels across various areas in Mumbai,this was the quietest Diwali in a decade. Sumaira Abdulali,convenor of the foundation,said the involvement of the police made a difference this year.
For the first time,the police had made an effort to create awareness about the 10 pm deadline for bursting crackers. At Marine Drive,boards were put up and policemen asked people to stop bursting crackers after 10 pm, said Abdulali. While some people refused to comply with the request of the police,a majority of the residents stopped bursting crackers at 10 pm,she added. In Pali Hill,Marine Drive and Pedder Road,celebrations continued till 1 am.
The police had also set up an SMS complaint system for residents and had conducted a meeting with the Firecracker Distributors Association to discuss ways to control the noise levels.
Very few serial crackers and atom bombs were used. Although the noise levels had reduced,people did not adhere to the time limit, she added.
According to the noise pollution rules,the levels cannot exceed 45 dB in silent zones,55 dB in residential areas and 75 dB in industrial areas after 10 pm. Noise levels recorded at Pedder Road,which is a residential area,reached 92 dB at 12.20 am.
Dr Tarang Gianchandani,acting CEO at Jaslok Hospital,Pedder Road,said,Despite the area being a silent zone,people continued to burst crackers till midnight. We usually discharge many patients before Diwali to prevent any discomfort that could be caused to them. It is difficult to convince residents against firecrackers.
Dr Hasnain Patel,general physician and a clinical metal toxicologist,said noise levels beyond 120 dB can have an adverse effect on the ear drums. In case of senior citizens,loud noise can lead to high blood pressure. For people suffering from asthma or lung problems,pollution from crackers further damages the lungs, Patel said.
Smoke and fallout from crackers also causes irritation to eyes,sneezing and certain allergic reactions in the body,he added.
Dr Amitav Shukla,ENT department head at PD Hinduja Hospital,said,The immediate effects of noise is perforated ear drums. The prolonged effect of noise can cause tinnitus (constant humming and buzzing sound in ears.