Amidst calls for an eco-friendly Deepavali, teams of officials from the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) and the Karnataka State Pollution Control (KSPCB) went on an inspection of cracker shops across Mysuru on Saturday and Sunday to check if crackers violating the noise pollution norms were being sold to the public.
The officials seized suspicious samples from different cracker shops, which had been temporarily set up at J.K. Grounds, Chamundipuram and other parts of the city. However, the samples, which were tested with a sound meter by the KSPCB officials, let out a sound below the ceiling of 125 decibels when burst, officials claimed.
During the inspection, the team found that packages of most of the fireworks and crackers mention that they conform to the noise standards. “Yet, we seized samples from suspicious lots of crackers for testing,” MCC Health Officer Nagaraj told The Hindu. The traders also claimed that the manufacturers in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu and other places ensure that they do not send crackers that emit sound above the standard norms in the region.
As the crackers could not be tested for noise levels in the shops, the samples were taken away by the KSPCB officials for testing. “We tested about 20 to 25 samples of crackers seized during the inspection and all of them were below the prescribed 125 decibels,” Raghuram, a KSPCB official in Mysuru, told The Hindu.
“None of the seized samples violated the norms of noise pollution. The loudest noise recorded during the testing was 109 decibels,” Mr. Raghuram said.
While exposure to high-decibel sound is known to cause hearing impairment, particularly among the vulnerable sections, including infants, senior citizens, patients and pet animals, consultant audiologists have cautioned people against exposing themselves to sounds above 80 decibels. But, Mr .Raghuram said the ceiling on the noise levels of crackers has been fixed by higher authorities. Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep has rejected a call for a ban on fire crackers. Responding to a tweet that called for a ban on fire crackers as it caused a problem for movement of vehicles, besides leading to air and noise pollution, Mr. Randeep tweeted “Bursting fire crackers is an individual right. Can’t be infringed. Even Honble Supreme Court has not agreed for ban (sic).”