Most of the people were unaware of the restrictions
On the basis of time restrictions imposed by the State government on bursting of crackers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, those who were found violating the norms were penalised.
Firecrackers were permitted to be burst only between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., and from 7 p.m to 8 p.m.
A large section of the public was unaware of the restrictions as people continued to burst crackers throughout the day, especially in the evening. “People were bursting everything from loud bombs to crackers emitting large extent of smoke. The people have forgotten that COVID is still around,” said K.C. Neelamegam, secretary of Thanneer, a voluntary organisation.
Piles of paper and plastic bags were found strewn across the city, Mr. Neelamegam said. “Even though the government has enacted a rule, the people were not informed. Awareness programmes with warning messages should have been organised beforehand so that the people know the intention of the government. The effect on the environment is immense,” he said.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the smoke emitted from the crackers could trigger breathlessness and breathing difficulties for patients, and for non-COVID asthmatic patients.
Meanwhile, Tiruchi City Police on Saturday booked 40 persons for bursting crackers beyond the permitted time. “We warned the people through patrolling throughout the stipulated time, and when it was beyond that time, we booked them for violating the norms,” a police official said.
A senior official of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in Tiruchi said that the department was undertaking a survey at Gandhi Market and Ramalinga Nagar stations in the city to monitor air quality in the district prior to and post Deepavali to prepare a comprehensive report. “There was no sizeable difference before and during Deepavali. The air quality remains satisfactory. The amount of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter in the air, too, was well below permissible limits,” District Environmental Engineer R. Lakshmi said.
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