Kolkata: The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has geared up to ensure adherence to Firecrackers norms, on the occasion of Kali Puja and Diwali, in the city and surrounding areas by deploying seven teams. The firecrackers norms include bursting of crackers only from 8pm to 10 pm as restricted by Supreme Court’s order on October 23 and not using crackers exceeding the 90-decibel limit in accordance with Calcutta High Court’s order from late 90s.
“The WBPCB control room will be working from 5 pm to 12am on both the days. There will be seven teams of pollution board officials in Kolkata, while personnel would also be deployed in the districts to check violation of rules”, said WBPCB Chairman Kalyan Rudra. The teams will act in coordination with the police and the administration, and particularly keep vigil near high-rises and areas adjacent to Kali Puja pandals, he added.
Mr. Rudra noted,
The board has given 180 sound-monitoring devices to the police, which was in addition to 317 more devices given last year. These devices can be effectively put to use to check the decibel level on spot. We had held a series of meetings with residents of high-rises in the past week, where we pointed out that the measures, as stipulated in the SC order, were for public benefit. If you burst a toxic cracker, you are endangering your health, as well as that of your family members.
Reports from 17 air quality monitoring stations in Kolkata are being separately tabulated to check any change of air quality in the run-up to the festival and afterward. “The board has been assessing air quality in the city for the past seven days and the practice will continue till November 14 to detect any change in air quality during and after the festival,” Mr. Rudra said, adding that the findings from the last few days would be analysed shortly.
After Supreme Court’s verdict on firecrackers, to burst crackers only for two hours on the day of Diwali to check the air pollution, WBPCB urged the public, firecracker manufacturers and sellers to come forward to ensure better air quality. “We have to focus on air quality because that affects the people the most”, said Mr. Rudra. However, the firecracker manufacturers committee ‘Sara Bangla Atasbazi Unnayan Samity’ expressed displeasure on Supreme Court’s verdict and also demanded that the 90 decibel sound limiting West Bengal be raised to 125 decibels as in force elsewhere in the country.
(With inputs from Press Trust of India)
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