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Avoid noisy crackers, says pollution board

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, NOV. 8. Even before the crack of dawn on Thursday, lakhs of people in Chennai will be busy, setting off `rockets' and loud firecrackers, signalling the arrival of Deepavali.

The festival, synonymous with sweets and crackers, is an occasion for socialising.

But today, the Government and activists are worried about the increasing level of toxic gases released due to the bursting of crackers. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has appealed to residents not to burst crackers that produce noise above the permissible limit.

To increase awareness among the residents, the Environment and Forests Minister, R. Vaithilingam, today flagged off a rally taken out by members of the Board's `Greensquad'. The Greensquad members will be touring different places of the city to perform in street corners.

They will highlight the importance of not bursting crackers that exceed the 125-decibel level.

The chairperson of the Board, Girija Vaidyanathan, told reporters the Board had been writing to manufacturers telling them not to make crackers that exceeded the permissible noise level.

She said they could only issue notices to the manufacturers and not take any punitive action.

The officials said the decibel levels on Deepavali usually exceeded the normal in Sowcarpet and Triplicane.

However, with more awareness programmes over the years, they had managed contain this, officials said.

A press note from the Board said that crackers should not be burst in the vicinity of educational institutions, hospitals and courts.

People who violate this rule are liable to be punished by a fine of Rs. 1,000, the note said.

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