Greens want cracker ban in Bengaluru too

Bengaluru: After the ban on firecrackers in New Delhi and Mumbai, environmentalists want a similar ban in Bengaluru too, saying the Diwali is a festival of lights and not crackers.

Mr Mahesh Kashyap, a consultant with the Centre for Sustainable Development, said, “The government must ban the use of crackers and raise awareness among citizens on the ill-effects of bursting of crackers.”

Environmentalist Yellapa Reddy, quoting a World Health Organisation report, which claimed that India has the highest rate of deaths due to respiratory diseases, said, “Young children need good quality of air three times more than adults. Bengaluru is already suffering because of air pollution and bursting of crackers will only add to pollution.”

He said citizens too should be aware, and asked, “Do we want to contribute to pollution by bursting crackers.”

Every year, during Diwali, hospitals see a surge in complaints of burns and respiratory problems, and most vulnerable are infants. The smoke-filled air and noise emanating from high-decibel crackers not only affect senior citizens but also those suffering from asthma and respiratory diseases. 

On the impact of crackers on one’s health, Dr Sumant, an assistant professor at a medical college, said, “High-decibel sound leads to partial deafness and fumes from crackers cause respiratory ailments.” 

No sale at retail shops: High CourtExpressing concern over the safety while selling firecrackers in retail shops, the High Court refused to renew the licenses of several such retail shop owners, who had sought permissions to sell firecrackers in their shops.

The government advocate argued that as per Explosives Act, selling of firecrackers cannot be permitted in such shops and told the court that the state police have also issued a circular restricting the sale of firecrackers in such shops.

KSPCB to designate areas for fireworksAfter monitoring the Air Quality Index (AQI), which indicates increased pollution in several parts of the city, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has formed squads to conduct surprise check at shops selling crackers above 125 dB, the permissible limit set by the regulatory agency. 

A highly-placed source at KSPCB said that the raids will be conducted in a short span. “We have noise meters which will be used to check the noise level of crackers,” he said.

The KSPCB will conduct awareness campaigns across schools and colleges in the city against the use of firecrackers. 

Board chairman Lakhsman said, “We want an eco-friendly Diwali. We are vigilant about bursting of loud crackers.”

The board maintained that the ambient air quality will be constantly monitored on the day of the festival. Mr Laxman also revealed that in the next couple of days, a list of designated areas will be released where bursting of crackers will be allowed. The police department too will join hands with the KSPCB to prepare the list. Despite repeated attempts, BBMP could not be contacted.

We are for eco-friendly Diwali. We are vigilant about bursting of loud crackers— Laxman, chairman, KSPCB

Fumes from crackers affect asthmatic patients. Hospitals receive a lot of complaints of eye injuries too during the festival— Dr Priya, pulmonologist

The government must ban crackers and raise awareness on their side-effects— Mahesh Kahyap Centre for Sustainable Development

Hospitals see 50-80% increase in the number of minor and major burnsPulmonologists attend to 25% more asthmatics on the festive daySale of crackers above 125db is not allowed to be soldKSPCB has formed a squad to raid factories and shops selling crackers above 125 dbBursting of crackers between 10 pm and 6 am is banned by the pollution control board

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