South Kolkata dominated the cracker noise norm violation on Diwali night, shows an analysis of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board’s (PCB) reports.
The study was carried out by the state board with help from IIT Delhi, on the basis of inputs from the remote sensing stations of the board as well as complaints received.
According to the analysis, violation was rampant in large parts of south Kolkata, including Kasba, Jadavpur, Kalighat, Behala, Bhowanipore, Ballygunge and Patuli.
Although the violations were relatively less in the north, places like Tallah, Lake Town, Dum Dum and Shyampukur were identified as noise violation hotpots.
“We have tried our best (to curb noise pollution), but it’s a fact that there were a few gaps. We will immediately start building a long-term plan for next year,” environment minister Manas Bhuniya said.
The board’s records show the violations continued beyond the Supreme Court-mandated deadline of 10 pm for fireworks. Two-thirds of the complaints came beyond the scheduled time.
WBPCB chairman Kalyan Rudra said noise pollution was “not that high apart from some hotspots in the city, particularly in south Kolkata”.
Board sources pointed out that the level of noise pollution on the Diwali night was less than 2019 but higher than last year. The noise levels on Diwali 2020 were not considered as the city was under virtual lockdown because of Covid.
“We were on the road till early morning and saw the extent of violation even on the day before and after Diwali. Even hospitals were not spared. The police, WBPCB and the environment department should answer how such a huge number of illegal fireworks were sold in violation of judicial orders,” said a representative of the green platform Sabuj Mancha, which has moved court on the noise norm violations.
Rudra also said the city was “cleanest among all metro cities” on Diwali. Experts say the “clean” air on Diwali was the gift of rain.
“Yes, Cyclone Sitrang was a factor, but awareness generation also played a role in reducing the sale and bursting of firecrackers,” Rudra said.
Minister Bhuniya said the WBPCB would immediately start the process of helping manufacturers of green fireworks, which are legal.