QKolkata: A Muted Diwali But City Air Turns Poisonous

1. Big-Bang Curbs Keep Calcutta Diwali Muted

Calcutta passed the Kali Puja cracker compliance test on Tuesday, 6 November, only to switch to noise mode on Diwali night as crackers came alive in several pockets of the city and the suburbs. Police said it was still quieter than in previous years, especially in neighbourhoods notorious for breaking the decibel barriers. “Far less than last year,” said an officer in Lalbazar, the city police headquarters.

The number of cases reported about violation of noise norms and disorderly conduct has declined considerably compared to last year’s data, the officer said. Till around 9.30pm on Wednesday, 7 October, 472 people had been arrested across Calcutta for bursting or selling banned firecrackers and disorderly conduct in public. Last year, 730 people had been booked for the same offences. The number of complaints registered declined from 161 in 2017 to 98 this year.

(Source: The Telegraph)

Also Read: In Pics: Here’s How India & the World Celebrated Diwali This Year

2. Crackers, Cloud Cover Turn City Air Poisonous Overnight

Despite the curbs imposed by the Supreme Court on bursting of fire crackers, Kolkata’s air quality swung dramatically from healthy to hazardous within a span of 18 hours as the city erupted in Kali Puja and Chhoti Diwali celebrations with fireworks lighting up the sky on Tuesday, 6 October. As the evening wore on, the PM2.5 count that was 56 at 6am on Tuesday shot up 9-fold to 553 µg/m3 around midnight. During this period, the Air Quality Index (AQI) shot up from a permissible 58 to an unhealthy 133 and continued to rise till it hit a hazardous 326 at 3 am and remained at this level till 6 am.

So heavy was the air laden with particulate matter, especially PM 2.5—the tiniest pollutant that breaches all filters and goes straight into the lungs and bloodstream causing maximum health damage and contributes majorly to worsening air quality — that even the unexpected drizzle couldn’t push the AQI below the 300 mark, leaving environmentalists exasperated and medical practitioners issuing health alerts.

(Source: The Times Of India)

Also Read: Is Air Pollution Making You Sick? 4 Questions Answered 

3. Wild Goose Chase To Keep Skyline Around Airport Clean

Cops had a tough time on Kali Puja evening to keep the skyline around the airport clean, as many revellers kept releasing sky lanterns in violation of the blanket ban on their use between 30 October and 29 December.

A team of policemen on motorbikes patrolled the lanes of Lake Town, Baguiati, Narayanpur and New Town, looking for the violators the moment they spotted a sky lantern but in almost all cases, they had to return empty-handed. However, their frequent movements deterred several others from violating the order and the number of lanterns came down as the evening progressed. On Wednesday, 7 October, evening, too, there was an initial surge in the number of lanterns but the moment the cops began the patrol duty, the count dropped significantly.

(Source: The Times Of India)

4. Transgenders To Usher In ‘Bon Phonta’

For ages they yearned to put a ‘ phonta’ on their their brothers’ forehead, but were forced to accept it instead. Their prayers will be answered on Thursday, 8 November. These are transgenders, who were born male and grew up thinking that they were women trapped in men’s bodies. And now, when they are able to come out into the world showing off their real sexuality, they are pulling out all stops to celebrate.

The Bagbazar Reading Library is wearing a festive look. At least 15 transgenders, led by a lawyer, will gather there on Thursday morning with 30 boys with physical and mental disabilities who will get phonta from them. The ‘brothers’ of these transformed girls will then put a phonta on their forehead.

(Source: The Times Of India)

Also Read: What a Transgender Art Project Wants You to Know About Friendship

5. Calcutta Airport Clears Out Trolley Touts

Calcutta airport appears to have been rid of its pesky trolley touts, although there is still no escaping the purveyors of wheelchairs for a fee and taxi rides with fares that shock.

Passengers arriving on international flights are no longer mobbed by trolley pushers notorious for their pretence of helpfulness and rudeness when refused money. A Calcuttan returning from a trip early on Tuesday, 6 November, was surprised not to find a tout pursuing him in the arrival area.

(Source: The Telegraph)

6. Calcutta Park To Host Rosogolla Day On 14 Nov

The Mishti Hub in Eco Park will play host to “Rosogolla Day” on 14 November to celebrate the first anniversary of the state securing the geographical identification tag for rosogolla.

As many as 20 popular sweet shops that specialise in making the sweet will display different varieties of the delicacy at the hub.

The Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco), which manages Eco Park and the Mishti Hub, is organising the day-long programme.

(Source: The Telegraph)

Also Read: The Rosogolla Race: Odisha’s Inaction, West Bengal’s Gain

7. Weather Alert For Dengue Spurt

The monsoon is over and the weather pleasant — conditions ideal for mosquitoes to breed indoors.

Health workers of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, keen on preventing a renewed outbreak of dengue, are on a door-to-door visit to check whether mosquitoes are breeding in tubs, flower vases, refrigerator trays or other objects, officials said.

Debashis Biswas, chief vector control officer of the civic body, said mosquito breeding spots were shifting indoors with the weather becoming dry.

(Source: The Telegraph)

Also Read: Recovering From Dengue? Make Sure You Don’t Fall Sick Again

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