The ones who needed maximum protection from noise were most exposed to the deafening sound of banned firecrackers, a survey by Metro across the city on Diwali night revealed.
Most hospitals Metro visited from 6pm to 2am resembled a war front, reeling under the assault of banned crackers being exploded freely all around.
At BC Roy Children Hospital in Beleghata, the decibel meter reading at 1.05am varied between 85 and 90. The post-10pm limit in a silent zone, which all hospitals are, is 40 decibel.
Physician and former sheriff Dulal Bose was measuring the noise level at Police Hospital in Bhowanipore. Around 11pm, the decibel meter crossed 90 at least once in every three readings, he said.
At Balananda Brahmachari Hospital in Behala, the noise resulting from cracker explosions outside the campus crossed 90 decibel outside the intensive care unit at 9pm.
“We measured nearly 100 decibel close to hospitals like Columbia Asia, RG Kar and RN Tagore,” said Gitanath Ganguly, former high court-appointed special officer on noise pollution.
“It is extremely unfortunate. We visited a number of hospitals from the evening to late at night and found that the ambient noise level in most was much above the permissible limit. There was deafening noise all around,” said former sheriff Bose.
“It’s becoming impossible to work in the midst of such deafening noise,” complained a nurse at Balananda Brahmachari hospital.
“We had arrested several people from around the hospital,” said police commissioner R.K. Pachnanda.
Not just hospitals, the cracker ban was violated with impunity in most pockets of the city on Diwali. And the violations multiplied after 10pm despite the Supreme Court’s blanket ban on bursting crackers after that.
Across the city, more than 800 people were picked up for violating the cracker ban.