Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
In keeping with the directives issued by the Supreme Court on October 30, Goa had an order issued on Sunday, November 4 that restricted bursting of firecrackers. The Supreme Court had passed an order setting the time slot for fireworks between 10 p.m. and 12 midnight, there has been several modifications for several states keeping in mind the different ways of celebrations and the time associated with the rituals.
The states were also given discretionary powers to fix the time slots, with a restriction of two hours. So in Goa, on November 6, when the effigies of Narkasur were burnt, bursting of firecrackers was allowed only from 4.30 a.m. to 5.30 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. yesterday and today.
This directive was issued keeping in mind the poor air quality across the country – a response to a petition on the behalf of three children seeking a ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers in order to protect their health.
In Goa, not only has there been mixed reactions from people about this directive, but in several parts of the state, mostly villages, this directive wasn’t followed in full measure. Music and bursting of fire crackers were heard through the night preceding Diwali.
While the police department was at helm, to enforce the same, they could only book cases based on prima facie evidence or act when there were complaints registered. This loophole aided revellers who knew just well how to dodge the police. People too, when in a festive mood, don’t bother much about restrictions; this resulted in just two cases registered in the capital city.
Here’s what a few people had to say…
GSPCB monitoring Diwali pollution in Panaji
A last minute order to monitor metal pollution levels due to bursting of fire crackers is underway in the capital city. Chairman Ganesh Shetgaonkar tells us that the monitoring work has been done a week prior to the festivities and will continue to post Diwali celebrations so that the results can be analysed and compared.
“As we got the notification at the eleventh hour we were unable to carry out this process at other locations. Besides, the festivities are much more in Panaji than other parts of the state and thus three locations identified in Panaji are being monitored,” Shetgaokar says.
With regards to restriction on the time limit to burst fire crackers he says that the response has been good, and people have become quite conscious. Comparing the fire cracker trend in Goa to other places he says, “I do not know about last year. But, this year there is good feedback. I have lived in Mumbai for 13 years and in terms of fireworks, Diwali in Goa is very different. This is a very positive sign” he says.
Long lasting adverse effects of fireworks
“I feel fireworks should be banned completely. We have seen how places like Delhi have suffered the smog, which is now twenty times over the safe limit. All this pollution in the air led to the disastrous effect on the state. Besides smoke, noise pollution due to the bursting of firecrackers also has an adverse effect on the environment and community at large. If festivals are to be enjoyed in true spirit, the money spent on buying these fireworks could be donated to those who are deprived of basic needs.”
– Glenda Mascarenhas, Panaji
Festivities don’t get hampered due to burning lesser firecrackers
“I completely support the decision of the Supreme Court. There has to be some disciplinary guidelines set for bursting firecrackers. Due to this rule, at least, I feel people will be alert, to some extent while bursting crackers. Regarding the festivities, with lesser firecrackers there should not be any problem. There will be less air pollution. This will also help people, especially children and teenagers to shift their focus from buying fire crackers to the importance of why we celebrate the festival. In addition, I also feel the Supreme Court should put this rule even for New Year celebrations. Almost every club and hotel bursts a lot of fire crackers at that time. Such a move will not only help in protecting the environment, but will also help the elderly and babies to sleep peacefully.”
– Disha Mashelkar, Bicholim
Makes no sense at all
“The decision taken by Supreme Court is quite illogical. I don’t understand how it will restrict the amount of crackers burnt during the allotted time. There has to be a proper action-plan to implement this ban; it isn’t practical at all, it has just shifted the burden onto the police force. By allowing a shorter time span for bursting fire crackers it only means that it will take a longer time to clear the air, and thus a longer time period for bursting fire crackers is actually better. I believe that people would have welcomed the move to ban fire crackers in the country completely.”
– Shantanu Arlekar, Porvorim
Abiding by the directives
“The directive by the Supreme Court is a good one. Even though we have crackers as a part of our festivities we need to think of the after-effects or side-effects of it on our lives and the environment. So we shall abide by the directive taking it positively and enjoy the festivities.”
– Sharvey Kerkar, Mapusa
People are least bothered
“Education is the key to bringing about any change in society. Awareness about the time restriction of burning fire crackers wasn’t widespread. I really thought that this time Diwali wouldn’t sound like it – but I was wrong. There were fire crackers through the night before the Narkasurs were burnt down. This was across villages, and people didn’t seem to be bothered. Also, the sound of music was only being turned down when the police jeep was near or organisers were alerted about their presence. How much can you expect the police to do?”
– Sairaj Naik, Ponda
India needs more bans
“The Supreme Court’s decision to restrict time for bursting of fire crackers is a good one, with a good intention in mind. But for most revellers it hasn’t served as a deterrent. In fact it would have made sense to enforce a ban on the use of fire crackers completely. I feel India needs several more bans to protect our environment and people,”
– Dinesh Nirawdekar, Mapusa
Fire crackers not part of Diwali celebrations in Goa
“Usually we don’t burst crackers at Diwali, maybe just 1 or 2 early in the morning on the first day of the festival. For us Goans, fire crackers are burnt more during Ganesh Chaturthi. In fact, as a family we have stopped bursting fire crackers at home. The children also don’t ask for it any longer. However, I do not feel the directive issued by the Supreme Court will make any difference – at least not for my family.”
– Sidhanath Buyao, Margao