Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is there less noise and smoke this time?

Is there less noise and smoke this time?

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Does it seem that this time around Deepavali has been a tad less noisy? With greens fuming over the use of fire crackers — resulting in both environmental and noise pollution — the conscientious Bangalorean may just have moved an inch towards a cleaner and greener way of celebrating the festival of lights.

Concerted efforts by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) through advertisements and repeated appeals to citizens, have ensured that roads have not turned into a complete litter fest. While the traditional few stuck to their annual quota of firecrackers, others decided to take the green turn.

“My seven-year-old daughter came back from school and told me that she has been taught not to burst crackers and pollute the surroundings. There is certainly greater awareness about these things, which may act as a deterrent,” says Venkatachalam, a resident of Vasanthanagar.

Awareness campaigns were held in schools by various non-governmental organisations to educate students on both the environmental aspect and draw their attention to the various hazards faced by child workers in cracker manufacturing industry. Organisations such as Nayak’s Hearing clinic have taken up anti-cracker drives in nearly 350 schools to bring about awareness on the ill-effects of noise pollution.

Shruti Shah, a student of Christ University, says: “I have decided not to burst crackers, so as to do my bit for the environment. Another issue is the fact that these crackers are made by children, which is hazardous to their health.” G. Arumugam, a cracker stall owner at Malleshwaram grounds, says that it has been a lean festival. He has been selling crackers for 15 years and has seen a substantial dent in his revenues this time. “This could be due to a 30 per cent rise in the MRP (maximum retail price) of crackers. Added to this the fact that in spite of paying VAT we are being asked by different government authorities to pay extra dues,” he alleges.

A lull in the market and higher prices of crackers too appear to have influenced the trend this year, says Vatsala Mahalingam, a resident of Indiranagar. Her neighbours, who are into business, used to burst loads of crackers every year. “However, this time around I did not see a single cracker being burst by the members of that family,” she notes.


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