The Telegraph
Thursday , November 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sound & smoke darken Diwali dazzle
- High decibel bombs spoil festive mood of several citizens

Revellers in the capital had a blast this Diwali but cared little for their health.

The sound pollution-level stood at 119.4 decibel in Patna — up by 11 decibel from the normal 108.6, the Bihar Pollution Control Board (BPCB) on Wednesday said. “The noise pollution increased because revellers burst large number of firecrackers,” said BPCB chairperson Subhash Chandra Singh.

Boring Road roundabout, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city, witnessed more noise pollution this year in comparison to what was recorded last year on Diwali night. The BPCB, which conducted a sampling at Boring Road roundabout, recorded 84.63 decibel (night-time average between 6pm and 12midnight) compared to last year’s 81 decibel. The standard (night-time) sound level is 55 decibel in commercial areas. The figures were 72.39 decibel in 2009 and 89.1 decibel in 2010.

However, the daytime sound pollution level was lesser this year in comparison to 2011. The figure on D-Day this year was 82.3 decibel, whereas it was 83.85 decibel last year. The standard (daytime) sound level is 65 decibel in commercial areas. This year, not many people chose to burst crackers during the day, as the average (ambient noise-level) pre-Diwali observation (November 6) was 82.12 decibel, whereas it was 82.3 decibel on Diwali. On the other hand, the night-time average on November 6 was 76.24 decibel compared to 84.63 decibel on Diwali. (See graphics)

The rise in sound level during the festivity has cost many people, especially children, dear. Ear, nose and throat specialist Dr Satchidanand Sinha attended to two children aged 12 years and 15 years on Wednesday. Both had to endure permanent loss of hearing. “The problem is even educated parents are not ready to believe that crackers cause harm to kids,” Sinha said.

The pollution control board also kept a tab on the air quality during the festivity. Two locations — Gandhi Maidan and Beltron Bhavan — were chosen for the sampling. This year, the air pollution level (respirable suspended particulate matter) was much higher compared to 2011.

In Gandhi Maidan, the RSPM was 486 microgram per cubic metre, whereas last year it was 289. At Beltron Bhavan, 407.3 microgram per cubic metre RSPM was recorded this year during Diwali compared to 180 last year.

Pankaj Kumar, 26, a resident of Boring Road said: “Crackers are such a waste of money. It was such a disturbance.”