By -Radha Kant Bharati :Light is the symbol of prosperity and joy. In the Indian sub-continent a great tradition coming down from centuries is Deepavali i.e. festival of lights. It is celebrated after twenty days from Dashahara on Amavasya 15th Day of dark fortnight of Kartika month of Indian calendar.
Popular Belief’s :Diwali or Deepavali signifies different things to different people of our Indian society. Popularly it is believed that on this day Lord Rama returned back to Ayodhya after completing period of 14 years in exile. Thus the occasion of Diwali is the celebration of victory of Lord Rama. Side by side it is also celebration of Naraka Chaturdashi, the day when the Demon of Darkness and Dirt Narakasura was destroyed by Lord Krishna. According to another popular believe the festival is linked with Laxmi Goddess of wealth and prosperity. On this day Goddess Laxmi goes around visiting clean, lighted and decorated houses during the night and distributes gifts and blessings.
The festival of lights is celebrated in different ways in different regions of Indian sub-continent. On this pious occasion feasting, merry making and joyful get-togethers are main features.
Nowadays, all over India the festival of Diwali is celebrated with pomp and show and with bursting crackers well past midnight. All our festival seasons coincide with an increase in air, water and sound pollution levels.
Noise levels have been a matter of concern as they are harmful to health and welfare of all. Noise pollution can cause both physiological and psychological problems.
Subjected to 45 decibels of noise, an average person cannot sleep. At 120 decibels the ear registers pain, but hearing damage begins at a much lower level, about 85 decibels. Apart from hearing loss, noise can cause lack of sleep, irritability, heartburn, indigestion, ulcers, high blood pressure, and possibly heart disease. Noise-induced stress creates severe tension in daily living and contributes to mental illness.
Keeping in view the increasing trend in noise levels, various regulations have been issued from time to time to control noise pollution in ambient air, at source and at manufacturing stage.
The Supreme Court has literally put a cap on ‘noise’, crackers can emit. It is 125 decibels on an average. The ruling has had a salutary effect. In pursuance of the judgement and to collect bench mark data, all the regulatory agencies of the State Government/ Union Territories have been advised to comply with stipulated norms and to draw an Action Plan for ensuring the compliance of the directions. The concerned agencies have also been advised to strengthen/establish environmental cells at the State and District levels to check noise pollution and also to undertake survey in major cities specially before and after the festivals to ensure compliance. Intensive campaigns are also launched in print and electronic media about deleterious effects of noise pollution. For creating awareness, most of the State Governments sent their monitoring reports of survey undertaken before and on Diwali day and the reports so far have revealed that there has been a reasonable success in arresting the menace of noise pollution. The conflict between competing interests in society – safety, health, and calm on the one hand, and tradition on the other hand, has evolved over time, and the health effects are receiving greater attention. There has been a concerted effort over the past few years to reduce noise pollution by opting for light based fireworks as-well-as maintaining the spirit of Deepavali.