Firecracker waste layers roads, dust chokes lungs

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BANGALORE, November 3:  While many Bangaloreans were enjoying their extra Sunday morning snooze, post festivities on the first day of Deepavali, pourakarmikas across the city were taking up the gargantuan task of cleaning Saturday’s mess.

In most residential areas, cracker waste formed an additional layer over the roads with people having kicked off celebrations on Saturday with fireworks. To make things worse, most road corners had bins or garbage piles with an excess of festival waste — from puja items to sweet boxes and plantain leaves.

Pourakarmikas, who were doing their cleaning well into the afternoon, said that the worst was yet to come with Sunday being the day people generally burst crackers. “We are doing some cleaning today. But there isn’t much of a point as it is only going to get worse tomorrow,” said a maintenance worker in Basaveswaranagar. Another pourakarmika, who was seen picking piles of festival garbage from near Avenue Road, said that it was sad he had to work on festival day. “If only these people had cared to dispose of their waste in a methodic way, or taken a little effort in storing it properly, our festival would have been better,” he said.

BBMP authorities said that while no extra measures had been taken to deal with post-Deepavali waste, there as an estimated increase of 10 to 15 per cent in garbage volumes. Yet, this is not comparable to Dasara waste, which is much larger in volume.

Breathing woes

Another segment of people who bore the brunt of cracker-led festivities are those with respiratory ailments. Anuradha C.S. said she has sealed her windows to protect her 71-year-old husband from the thick smoke coming in from the road side. “I even requested them to stop bursting crackers outside our house, but they asked me to give them an extra hour.” Ms. Anuradha says that the crackers have also scared her neighbour’s newborn, who has been crying incessantly.

Shunning firecrackers

While the jury is still out on whether or not the many anti-cracker awareness drives have been able to dissuade people from polluting the environment, several Bangaloreans appear to have opted out of the noisy part of the festivities. A lot of this awareness comes from the younger generation who are being taught in schools that crackers add to air pollution, said Ganga R., a resident of Frazer Town. “It is good that they are being taught this in schools. Because generally it is the children who are most enthusiastic about crackers, and when they say no to bursting crackers adults tend to follow suit,” she explained.

Cherian, a Koramangala resident, said that his apartment complex had “resolved” in a recent meeting that they would not permit bursting crackers inside the apartment complex. “This itself has dissuaded many families from spending a lot on crackers. Nobody wants to take the trouble of going to an open ground; instead they have decided to make do with sparklers and a few odd crackers.”

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