TN fixes time slots for bursting firecrackers

Like last year, the public have been given time from 6 am to 7 am and from 7 pm to 8 pm on Deepavali day

Published: 08th November 2020 03:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th November 2020 03:59 AM   |  A+A-

With Deepavali around the corner, people across the State have begun shopping for crackers. A scene at a shop on Island Grounds in Chennai | Martin Louis

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The State government on Saturday announced time slots for bursting firecrackers across Tamil Nadu. Like last year, people can burst crackers twice on Deepavali day — between 6 am and 7 am, and between 7 pm and 8 pm. 

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), in a release, said it has been taking various steps to create awareness of the harmful effects of crackers on environment and health. The board has urged people to burst only those crackers that create less noise and less pollution.

For bursting crackers as a community in an open space, people should get prior permission from the local bodies through residents’ associations. Giving details on what all to avoid, the  TNPCB asked the public not to burst crackers near hospitals, places of worship,  places where silence has to be maintained, near slum settlements and areas where there could be a fire accident. The board said it would study the air quality seven days before and after the festival in areas under the Corporation limits.

Moms fight against air pollution
Meanwhile, a group of mothers from Chennai are leaving no stone unturned in trying to convince people not to burst crackers this Deepavali to safeguard health of children.  These women are part of a pan-India movement called Warrior Moms, which recently launcheda campaign,  #DhoomDhamakaWithoutPatakha. 
Chennai-based Nina Subramani, who is part of the movement, says, “While a few States have already banned firecrackers this year, Tamil Nadu is yet to do so, considering the livelihood of workers in the firecracker industry. Green crackers also release same toxins found in others, but in less amounts.

If burst in large quantities, the green crackers will also end up polluting the air we all breathe in. Perhaps, it is time alternative job opportunities are created for those who are working in firecracker industry.” The campaign has been receiving good support from Doctors for Clean Air, schools, celebrities and residents groups. 

Another warrior mom Payal Bhojwani, an educator in Coimbatore, recollects that in the last 15 years in Coimbatore, she has observed some positive changes. “The most encouraging one has been the reduction in sale of crackers. Last year, I saw fewer shops selling crackers. I feel children are more aware of the dangers posed by pollution levels to their health and are also compassionate towards the underprivileged children who are forcefully employed by companies to make these crackers,” she says.

Dr Arvind Kumar of Lung Care Foundation and Doctors for Clean Air says, “In our zeal to celebrate a festival, we must not take our lungs for granted. Bursting of firecrackers leads to a substantial increase in PM 2.5 levels. It is a very serious health hazard, not just for humans but even animals and birds. We simply cannot afford to lose our guard, now that the country is reeling under Covid-19, which doesn’t have a cure or a vaccine yet. Air pollution can increase the chances of Covid deaths.”


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