City sees silent revolution

Keeps Diwali noise down third consecutive year

NGO Awaaz Foundation has confirmed the general belief that this Diwali was less noisy.

Convenor Sumaira Abdulali said: "This is the third year when Diwali was relatively quiet. Not many high-decibel crackers, such as serial and sutli bombs, were burst."

Noise went up to 127 decibels, two notches above the limit of 125 db, in Marine Drive and Juhu, but in general it was a quiet Diwali.

"This year, there was almost no noise on Laxmi Puja day.

People started bursting crackers only after 8 pm, with many violating the 10-pm deadline. This did not happen in the past few years," said Abdulali.

Residents in Bandra East complained of continuous serial and sutli bomb bursting at around 12.15 am.

The western part of the city was quieter with restrictions on bursting crackers on roads. The eastern part was, however, comparatively noisy. Firecrackers were also burst in silence zones in Shivaji Park, but noise in residential areas in general was less.

Activists attributed the change to increased awareness about the damage caused to the environment and health by crackers.

"Diwali is one festival that is celebrated individually. It required mass awareness and social change to bring it within eco-friendly parameters. Noise levels have shown marked decrease through voluntary cooperation, even while festivals, typically controlled by politicians, have generated increased noise in the past few years," wrote Abdulali in a letter to CM Prithviraj Chavan.

Some said the high cost of crackers was a reason for the decrease in noise pollution this year, but Abdulali contested this view. She said: "If that was the case, people would have shifted to cheap crackers, which are louder."

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