Exceedences of Noise Level during Festival Day - Diwali

By M. Pulikesi1, P. Karthikeyan2, R.L. Sai3, V. Ramamurthi4 and S. Sivanesan5
October 2006

  1. Visiting Lecturer, Department of Bio-Technology, Anna University, in Chennai - India
  2. Post graduate Student of Environmental Science, A.C. Tech, Anna University
  3. Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, A.C. Tech, Anna University
  4. Director (Research), Anna University
  5. Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Anna University
The extent of noise annoyance caused by firecrackers has been made at two different areas on a festival day, 21.10.06. The sites selected for this study were Perambur and Madurantakam, located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The measurements have shown that there is an exceedence of daytime mean noise level in these two sites.

Key words: Noise pollution, Festival day, Diwali, Firecrackers, Ambient Air Quality Standards


Noise pollution has been recognized in recent years as a serious threat to the people in most of the developing countries (Cunniff, 1997). Noise level may be damaging to our hearing, may produce interference with the activities in our daily lives, and may degrade the quality of our life style. Noise effect is studied as an occupational health problem in which a workman’s hearing is damaged due to long-term exposure on the job.

Several researchers have investigated the noise level from Road traffic (Sato et al., 1999), trains on bridges (Walker, et al., 1999). But there has been no report of noise from firecrackers. Noise from firecrackers is one of the most important environmental pollutants affecting human being and animals. Firecrackers are mainly used in festivals like Diwali in India. Hence, the noise annoyance response of firecrackers during festival day has been measured.

Observation Site and Instrumentation

Areas Investigated

The southern part of India is a peninsular surrounded by three major seas. Chennai formerly known as Madras is the fourth largest city in India. It is located (13° 05’ N and 80° 18’ E) on the southeast peninsular India.

Perambur: Perambur is a suburb in North Chennai, India. It is located 4 km away from Chennai Central station. Integral coach factory is located in this area. It is the fifth largest railway station in Chennai in terms of volume of passenger’s handles after Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Tambaram and Mambalam (as sited in wikepedia.com). The measurement site is highly congested residential area.

Madurantakam: It is a town located in Chengleput district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The town is about 2 hours drive away from Chennai. The measurement site is a residential area.

Measurement Technique

Digital Sound level meters (LT Lutron; SL-4011) have been used to measure the noise levels. It is designed as small hand-held instruments powered by dry batteries. The measurement range is from 30 to 130 dB. The instrument resolution is 0.1 dB and accuracy is + 1.5 dB. The instrument has been calibrated by using standard equipment. The noise data were collected at 1 hr interval for both the sites.

Experimental Results and Analysis

A one-day analysis of noise level using Sound level meter has been discussed. The day selected for this study is festival day, 21.10.06. Measurement is started from 6.00am to 10.00 pm for both the sites.

Figure 1 shows the hourly mean noise level from 06:00 to 22:00 hrs (6.00 am to 10.00 pm). In both the sites noise levels are increased from 6:00 to 11:00 hrs. After that it suddenly decreased to a level of 64 dB at 14 hrs. The sudden increase has been observed from 14:00 to 22:00 hrs. High bursting of firecrackers is responsible for the enhancement of noise level. Firecrackers are small explosive device that will produce large amount of noise. Bursting of firecrackers in morning and night hours in the air occurs at the higher frequencies.

Figure 1
Figure 1. Hourly average noise level at two different sites

Ambient Air Quality Standards (AAQ) has stipulated 55 dB permissible noises from a residential area during daytime (Noise pollution rules, 2000). However, daytime mean noise level for Perambur was 86 dB and Madurantakam was 95 dB. These two values are crosses the AAQs in respect of noise for residential zone. The level of noise from Madurantakam was higher when compare to Perambur. This may be due to the strong implementation of high court rule by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).


Following conclusions are drawn from the present Investigation. In the Residential area Noise level exceeded the Ambient Air Quality Standards in respect of Noise during Diwali. This may be due to excess bursting of firecrackers. The scope of the present study is limited to specific occasion and area. Hence, there is a scope for further measurements of noise level from different areas.


We are very grateful to thank the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, for providing fund under FIST programme. We greatly appreciate the help provided by S.A.M. Muthamizh Selvan, Postgraduate Student of Environmental Science in making these measurements.



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