Deepavali conjures up images of bursting of crackers, lighting up the night sky, and smiles all around.

Celebrations are fine, but do it responsibly. This is the message Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) articulated through students to the public. Students were given pamphlets specifying do’s and don’t’s for ensuring ‘accident-free celebration’.

The TNPCB has its task cut out with a responsibility to monitor the rules governing bursting of crackers by installing sound monitoring stations, and ensuring public compliance with the Supreme Court restriction on bursting noise-producing fireworks between 10.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. The public were informed that the Supreme Court has banned sale of fire crackers that produce sound beyond 125 decibels, and that continued exposure to the loudness could cause hearing problems.

The pamphlet advises use of fireworks, particularly rockets, only in open places. It warns against lighting fireworks in the vicinity of huts and in proximity to combustible substances.

Importantly, elders must have an eye on children bursting crackers. Sand and water must be kept ready in containers as a precaution. Those found bursting crackers near hospitals, schools, courts, and other tranquil spots will be apprehended by police and produced in court for payment of fines.

The office of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in Tiruchi has been asked by Central Pollution Control Board to collect data of sound recordings.

The permissible limit of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) is 100 microgram per cubic metre, and the permissible noise level in residential areas is 45 decibels during night time and 55 decibels during the day. The national ambient quality standards (NAAQ) set for sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are 60 microgram/cubic metre and 50 microgram/cubic metre respectively.