Ban Crackers; Make This Diwali ‘Silent’ in Delhi – Dr. Harsh Vardhan
New Delhi, October 16: Stressing his earlier stance of terming noise as ‘plague’ for hearing, Union Health Minister has today wished that this year’s Diwali in Delhi be ‘silent’. He has written a letter to Delhi L-G to implement cracker ban and sensitize people about the adverse effect of noise pollution on hearing created by crackers. Being an ENT specialist Dr. Vardhan has always voiced concerns about escalating noise pollution which leads not only to hearing loss in old and children but cause many other diseases too.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, has urged Mr Najeeb Jung, Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi, to ensure that the nation’s capital celebrates a “silent Diwali” this year. The Minister, in an email to the Lieutenant-Governor, stated that noise-pollution free Diwalis are fast becoming the norm in many parts of the country. A Supreme Court order of July 2005 had banned the bursting of fire crackers in residential areas, he has pointed out.
He has written, “The implementation of the apex Court’s order has been practically absent in Delhi. Some state governments have been quite successful in ensuring quietness in the revelries. I hope that under your direction, Delhi will turn a corner from this Diwali onwards.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan unequivocally rejected the position of apologists saying, “Many excuses have been offered by administrations of the past for Delhi’s general disregard (of the Supreme Court’s order). The reasons advanced vary from “cultural” to “police insufficiency”. These are all unacceptable.”
The Minister, who has already announced that he is in the process of constituting an expert group to recommend nation-wide measures to prevent noise pollution, recalled progressive governments cannot reconcile cultural sentiments with the suffering of people, especially children and old people.
He has pointed out to the L-G, “Firecrackers which sell under a variety of names lead to noise pollution which causes many physical diseases for people of all age groups. Small children and senior children are traumatized the most during the Diwali season because of the tendency to burst loud crackers is most manifested during the night. Many psychological disorders are also caused.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan recalled from his three decades of experience as a practising ENT surgeon in Delhi, how cases of traumatic perforation of the ear drums tended to show a distinct increase in the aftermath of Diwali. Apart from that there are many burn cases and eye injuries, he noted.
With only eight days left for Diwali, the L-G should not lose time in issuing strict instructions to all police stations, resident welfare association and corporation authorities to enforce the apex Court’s order, the Health Minister noted.
Simultaneously, the L-G was urged to involve school and college principals by asking them to advise students on the ill-effects of noise pollution and the responsibility of the new generation in building up a compassionate society.
The Health Minister added in his email: “I also suggest that a campaign be launched at the earliest so that people do not invest their money on noise-generating crackers. It would serve no purpose having a campaign after most people have bought crackers as the tendency to break the law would be quite marked.”