BENGALURU : Residents of the city, who faced an uphill task recovering from the sound and air pollution caused last year during Deepavali have welcomed the Supreme Court directives on Tuesday to restrict the bursting of firecrackers to two hours as well as the other assorted rules that the apex court laid down to control air pollution.
In 2017, in spite of rain on Deepavali, the city witnessed a 46.8 per cent rise in air pollution levels. Particulate Matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter (PM10) levels shot up to 122.4 µgm3 compared to the city's average of around 83 µgm3. Areas such as Koramangala, Jayanagar, Domlur and KR Circle witnessed some of the highest pollutant levels last year.
Tuesday’s Supreme Court directives will ensure that only crackers with reduced emissions can be manufactured or sold. It will also put an end to the chain firecrackers, a favourite of the crowd, that leave a trail of burnt material and loud noise that induces headache. “The chain crackers are the worst as it is always a competition between two groups to see who can purchase and set off the longest chain of these crackers. This leaves the rest of the neighbours cursing as the noise sometimes goes on for more than 10 minutes. It is like being in a war zone,” said Abhay KM, a resident of Basavanagudi.
Other directives include a ban on crackers that cross the noise pollution limits set down earlier by the court as well as a ban on the sale of crackers through online e-commerce websites. “The 8 pm to 10 pm slot provided by the court is a good one which allows everyone to celebrate Deepavali and also ensures peace in the neighbourhood. However, we have to see how far these rules are enforced. I personally think it will be impossible to ensure a citywide ban as there will be people who will break these rules,” said Arpita K, a resident of Jayanagar.
Perhaps those who will benefit the most are pet owners. “I really hope the rules are implemented strictly this year. Every year, Deepavali is a stressful time for our pets and they try and escape or cower under the bed for two to three days. Soundproofing does not help,” said Papiya Das, a resident of Koramangala who has two dogs at her home.
However, the time slot set out by the court has also attracted criticism from those who celebrate the festival of lights. “Our family does not burst crackers as the children are all grown up but I know so many other children who will not be able to burst crackers for longer time. You need to first find an open space and set up everything safely. The two-hour slot extending till 10 pm will not really help children. It could have started earlier in the evening,” opined Sajjan Raj Mehta, a resident of Basavanagudi.