The sound check

The sound check
The sound of the natural world has been drowning in the cacophony of modern life. Come festival season and the environment is choking with air and sound pollution, the crackers and fireworks lending a hand to it.
The Supreme Court’s upholding of the ban on sale of crackers in Delhi and NCR has left its echo in the city as well. Some Bengalureans, fatigued by the battle with the burgeoning traffic and dwindling infrastructure, are yearning for a noise-free ‘Deepavali’.

“I have not burst crackers in a very long time,” says Sreeja Sreedharan, a communications professional. “The ban of fireworks and crackers should happen across the country. Somewhere, people have forgotten the fact that ‘Deepavali’ is about lights and not about sound. It has come to a stage where bursting crackers is going over the top,” she says.

“For one, the pollution level has been going up. Secondly, people have become highly insensitive to the surroundings. For senior citizens, this is a difficult time. Moreover, bursting crackers also raises the question of safety, especially when it comes to children,” she avers.

“I am born and brought up in Bengaluru and I feel that ‘Deepavali’ was a lot nicer earlier -- quiet and without so many crackers being burst. We are dealing with so much chaos in the city already, on a daily basis, and I don’t understand why we have to add to it with such insensitive bursting of crackers,” adds Sreeja.

It is a known that firecrackers emanate high levels of residual particulate matter (RPM) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) and the toxic pollutants cause respiratory diseases. That said, cracker noises are not just impacting the environment but animal behaviour as well. “When it comes to dogs, the most number of pets get lost during the ‘Deepavali’ week,” says Sanjana Madappa, who works with CUPA. “On an average, 40 to 50 community dogs either run away or get lost during ‘Deepavali’. Dogs are very sensitive to sound. For them, the cracker noises are unbearable. That is the time when they show symptoms of anxiety, refrain from eating, keep barking, and shivering.”

“Leave the pets aside, the general pollution is huge. I don’t agree to those who say by banning crackers, you are taking away a kid’s childhood. Breathing healthy is more important.” “People who burst crackers, especially at 2 am and 3 am, are being insensitive to the people who are aged, heart patients and infants. It is definitely not fun for them,” she adds. Fortunately, the idea of an eco-friendly ‘Deepavali’ is finding more and more takers. They are going for ‘rangolis’ and other green festivities. Better still, there are those who dig into their cupboard, and donate whatever is surplus to those who need it the most. And why not?

Winter is coming!

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