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Banned firecrackers sell like hot cakes in shops across Mumbai

Despite a ban imposed by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on firecrackers that cross the prescribed decibel (dB) level, a visit by this correspondent to four locations in the city revealed that sellers have violated the ban. The locations were Dadar and Lower Parel in Central Mumbai, and Khar and Andheri in the western suburbs.


Dadar: With an entire lane dedicated to shops selling firecrackers, Dadar market has one of the widest possible range of fireworks on sale. And most of the shops had at least two to three banned varieties of firecrackers on display. “Why would I sell bombs to customers had I been informed about the ban. Authorities must inform us in advance so that we don’t sell the banned stuff,” said shopkeeper Nanasaheb Warkhade.

MPCB officials had tested a series of firecrackers on October 14, which included 10 varieties of single bombs and six varieties of series firecrackers. While the prescribed noise level for single bombs was set at 125 dB, the noise level for series firecrackers was restricted to 105 dB. They were supposed to conduct a retest on October 31, as some of the firecrackers were unavailable at the time. But the retest is still pending.


Lower Parel: Though the area lacks wholesalers, a few the shops were seen selling one of the banned varieties of firecrackers. And just like others, even these shopkeepers claimed they were unaware of the ban imposed by the MPCB. “The sale of firecrackers is quite low as compared to last year. One reason is the price rise and second being the increasing awareness among people,” said a shopkeeper.

Commenting on the sale of banned firecrackers, environmentalist and president of Awaaz Foundation, Sumaira Abdulali, said, “If the banned firecrackers are being sold, then the police should take immediate and strict action against the sellers. However, as per my knowledge, the number of firecrackers sold in the market has reduced drastically in comparison to the last few years.”


Andheri: When the correspondent visited shops selling firecrackers at wholesale rates in Andheri West, it was observed that most of the owners were selling four out of six banned firecrackers. “We haven’t been informed of the ban by any official, so we don’t know which firecrackers aren’t supposed to be sold,” said Prakash, an employee at one of the shops.

Officialspeak
“We have done our job by submitting the necessary papers to the explosives department in Nagpur and CBD Belapur. We also sent the papers to the police commissioners and now it is the responsibility of the police department to check the sale of the banned firecrackers,” said V M Mothgare, MD, MPCB.


Khar: There were two shops along the station road that were selling firecrackers in bulk, and both were found selling three varieties of firecrackers that crossed dB level prescribed by the MPCB. “Neither am I aware, nor have we been informed about any such ban by our association,” said one of the shopkeepers.¬†Pics/Sayeed Sameer Abedi

Crossing their limits
The following brands crossed the prescribed dB level
Vulcano Bomb (Shama Fireworks) - 127.4 dB
1000 Shells (The Corporation Fireworks) - 118.9 dB
Two Royal Jaguars (Nayagi Fireworks) - 117.1 dB
Chak De India 5000 series (Coronation Fireworks) - 125.3 dB
5000 Series (KRS Fireworks) - 114 dB

125 dB
MPCB’s prescribed noise level for single firecrackers

105 dB
MPCB’s prescribed noise level for series firecrackers

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