Despite HC diktat, KSPCB has no plans for safer Deepavali

Despite HC diktat, KSPCB has no plans for safer Deepavali

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) hasn’t put in place any special plans to check pollution during the Deepavali despite being ordered by the High Court to take stringent measures to that effect. 

The court had taken serious note of the increasing levels of noise and air pollution in Bangalore and directed the KSPCB to take stringent measures to control them. 

KSPCB Chairman Vaman Acharya said there were no special measures in place this year. “But we have requested the police and the sales tax department to strictly follow the Explosives Act which bans the sale of crackers in residential and busy commercial spaces.
 Although crackers can be sold for five days during the festival, the sellers should have proper documents like fire safety clearance, sales tax and VAT payment papers. The sales tax department will also conduct special drives along with the police. Those found selling crackers at places other than the designated points will be brought to book,” he told Deccan Herald. 

Bursting of crackers is prohibited in silent zones, which is around educational and medical institutions, government and judicial offices. In other places, the permissible noise level is 125 decibels. 

But experts say the KSPCB should have been more stringent and come out with special measures. Prof Nandini N, chairperson, Department of Environmental Science, Bangalore University, said that despite orders restricting noise levels, there was more bursting of crackers in residential areas compared with commercial spaces. But the intensity is the same in both places. Hence, there is a need for stricter regulation. The disadvantages of bursting crackers are increasing air and noise pollution and, most importantly, injuries to people, she said. 

Crackers are said to mainly contain gun powder which is a mixture of potassium nitrate, sulphur and charcoal powder, and the other chemicals present are aluminium powder, barium powder, magnesium powder, strontium nitrate and iron powder. 

In a study conducted last year, the department had found that the colours emitting from fire crackers were because of the presence of heavy metals. 

The intense red colour is because of the presence of strontium, medium red because of lithium, orange because of calcium, violet because of potassium, violet red because of rubidium, gold because of charcoal, lamp black because of iron and white because of titanium aluminium beryllium or magnesium, Nandini said. 

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