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Bihar State Pollution Control Board to monitor noise pollution during puja (Oct)

                                                      The Times of India , Friday, October 11, 2013

 PATNA: The Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) will monitor the noise pollution level near puja pandals across the state capital on October 11, 12 and 13.

Two BSPCB teams would patrol the city on the three days to check any breach of permissible sound level at the Durga Puja pandals. "Sensitive areas of the city are monitored and any breach of guidelines is reported to the district authorities. Last year, too, we had monitored the noise and ambient air pollution levels and sent reports to the administration," said Subhash Chandra Singh, chairman, BSPCB, adding, "However, BSPCB is just a monitoring body and we try to create more awareness regarding pollution control to minimize its adverse effects on environment."

The BSPCB has also undertaken a research study this year to estimate the impact of idol immersion in the Ganga. "At present, we are listing the puja pandals, the number of idols in each pandal, the materials used in idol-making and decoration as well as the ghats at which the idols would be immersed," said S N Jaiswal, scientist, BSPCB, who is spearheading the project.

According to Jaiswal, once the index is prepared, the board would decide which ghats would be used for collecting and testing the water samples.

The board had conducted the water pollution tests during Dussehra in 2006 and found only slight increase in the pollution level. "The aim of the study is to create awareness among people through concrete figures so that people don't use harmful products in idol-making," said Jaiswal, adding that the focus of the study would be on the use of plaster of paris (POP) and toxic dyes in making idols.

A letter comprising guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) regarding idol immersion was also sent to all district magistrates (DMs). However, unlike last year, ambient air pollution would not be monitored by the board.

Members of different puja samitis claim that they adhere to the BSPCB and the district administration guidelines in order to minimize the effects of pollution. Increasing awareness regarding environment issues among the people may have helped the cause to some extent. However, officials agreed in hushed tones that considering the religious sentiments of the people, it is very difficult to enforce pollution control laws strictly.