Repeated campaigns highlighting the harmful effects of firecrackers seem to have had a positive impact this Deepavali. Though bursting of crackers remain an integral part of the celebrations, various pointers show that the use of firecrackers is on the wane in the city.

The hotline of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) received 36 emergency calls from Chennai, in comparison to over a 100 last year. The number of injuries reported also dropped to 11 as against 101 in 2009.

TNFRS Director R. Nataraj said that the safe use of firecrackers had considerably improved owing to the outreach campaigns run through schools.

The number of burns, going by the figures furnished by government hospitals, had also seen a significant dip. The Kilpauk Medical College Hospital received 19 cases of firecracker-related burns till Saturday, of which one case required admission.

It is significantly less than 69 such cases treated at KMC last year, on and immediately after Deepavali. The Royapettah Government Hospital received no cases of firecracker-related burns till Saturday evening.

N. Jayaraman of the Plastic surgery and Burns Department at KMC said, “Greater awareness is definitely playing a part. But, firecrackers have also become more expensive this year.”

Director of the Government Eye Hospital in Egmore K. Vasantha said on Saturday that while the hospital would have usually received 15 cases of severe injury by now, only three cases of mild severity had been admitted so far. “Injuries have come down also because of tighter regulation of manufacture and sale of firecrackers. You don't expect a flower pot to suddenly burst anymore,” she said. Also, the amount of excess garbage that the city generated on Saturday showed that bursting firecrackers had lost its charm among many.

While the Chennai Corporation collected more than 300 tonnes of additional garbage on the day after Deepavali last year, this dropped to 200 tonnes on Saturday.

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