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Bursting firecrackers may lead to 5-year imprisonment

Bursting firecrackers may lead to 5-year imprisonment
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Kolkata: The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) along with state police will take stern action against any person found bursting firecrackers during Kali Puja and Diwali this year. The punishment would be same for bursting both light-emitting crackers as well as the ones producing sound beyond 90 decibel.

Such an act will be treated as a violation of section 188 of IPC and Section 15 of Environment Protection (EP) Act. The violators will either be jailed for five years or have to pay fine worth Rs 1 lakh or both.

Calcutta High Court as well as the National Green Tribunal banned firecrackers in November. The Supreme Court has also upheld the judgement of Calcutta High Court, considering the fact that air pollution caused due to bursting of firecrackers may further aggravate the pandemic situation.

The air quality index in the city deteriorates during winter (November to February). Last year, on a certain day PM 10 had touched the 1000 mark while PM 2.5 had plummeted to 700. The permissible limit for PM 10 is 100 while that of PM 2.5 is 60.

The WBPCB on Thursday held a virtual conference with school students and apprised them of the detrimental effects of sound crackers as well as the colour used in various light emitting crackers. Lead, titanium, strontium, copper, barium, sodium etc are found in fireworks which are harmful for health.

Copper compound causes respiratory tract infection, cadmium may be harmful for the anaemic and cause damage to kidneys. Heavy metals like barium may affect mental health, while lead damages the nervous system. Sodium may cause skin damage.

Studies have indicated that crackers particularly the sound crackers affect biodiversity with some animals and birds developing deafness and problems with eyesight.

"There will be four monitoring teams in the city, deployed at all regional offices of WBPCB. The Board has identified some hot spots in Kolkata as well as the districts on the basis of their history of violation," said Rajesh Kumar, member secretary of WBPCB.

Sonarpur, Kasba, Behala, Ballygunge Circular Road, Salt Lake, Garfa, Beliaghata, Bhowanipore, Dum Dum, Maniktala., Barasat, Maheshtala, Patuli, Tamluk,Jagaddal. Chandannagar, Chinsurah, Salkia, Khardah and some other places have been identified as hot spots, where surveillance will be beefed up.

Sound limiters are mandatory for all microphones and use of disk jockey (DJ) is banned during the procession of idol immersion. People can lodge complaints of violations at the toll free number 18003453390, or through the Paribesh App that was launched by state PCB last year. Complaints can also be lodged through the Twitter and Facebook page of WBPCB.

Last year the WBPCB along with the police initiated 15 cases of violation under EP Act.

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