Stop pooram fireworks: Rajan Gurukkal

“It is unfortunate that the organisers of Thrissur Pooram have refused to do away with the fireworks that normally produce noise exceeding 140 decibels despite reducing the event to the basic rituals in view of the pandemic situation,” Rajan Gurukkal P.M., historian and Vice Chairman of the Kerala State Higher Education Council, has said.

“The standard noise level set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the ambient environment is 60 decibels during daytime and 50 decibels during night to avert consequences of atmospheric contamination, aerosol pollution, and health hazards derived from crackers made up of harmful chemicals producing poisonous gases when burnt,” he told The Hindu on Thursday.

Reminding that the World Health Organization has warned that noise pollution exceeding 85 decibels can have adverse health impacts, Prof. Gurukkal said it could damage hearing, aggravate cardiovascular disorders, induce heart attack, upset respiratory rhythm, seriously impact pregnant women, disturb the nervous system, and cause cognitive impairment in children. “Its consequence is severe in patients of chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, sinusitis, rhinitis, pneumonia and laryngitis,” he said.

Stating that the pooram pyrotechnics by all means exceeded the carrying capacity of both the health and environment, Prof. Gurukkal said Thrissur could not ignore the serious health hazards inevitable in fireworks, especially with nearly eight major hospitals located in the surrounding area.

“It is high time environmentalists, doctors, and the enlightened public campaigned against the life threatening practice. The honourable Supreme Court has to interfere with the violation of the precautionary principle and rights under Article 21 and assert the right to life over merry making under the feigned excuse of rituals,” he said.

Prof. Gurukkal said banning potential crackers causing noise above 85 decibels does not infringe the religious freedom. “While the world has turned by and large to eco-friendly alternatives like the colourful drone light shows and digital spectacle, it is uncivilised to continue fireworks, life threatening, not only to humans but to birds and animals too,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 8:21:29 AM |

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