Indian States Ban Firecrackers Ahead of Diwali Due to Air Pollution and COVID-19 Risk
While India is ready to celebrate Diwali – the festival of lights, several states and Union Territories (UTs) have imposed a ban on firecrackers and its sale due to an increase in air pollution and rising coronavirus cases in the country during the winter season.
Earlier this week, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a total ban on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from November 9 to November 30. Last week the Delhi government implemented a complete ban on firecrackers from November 7 to November 30. According to Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai, anyone violating the ban on firecrackers will be penalized under the Air Act.
Northern states of Punjab and Haryana have also taken the initiative to ban the firecrackers to limit the pollution during the winter season, which exacerbates the air quality. Punjab government has allowed for a two-hour window for the use of green firecrackers on Diwali and Gurpurab. Similarly, Haryana allowed bursting firecrackers for two hours on Diwali. UT Chandigarh has also issued a ban on selling and using firecrackers of all types with immediate effect.
West Bengal has also prohibited the use of firecrackers during Diwali, Kali Puja, Chhath and Kartik Puja to combat air pollution amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Strict actions will be taken against the violators, including six months’ jail term. Neighbouring state of Sikkim has also imposed a complete ban on firecrackers until further notice.
Maharashtra has reported the highest number of infections since the beginning of the pandemic. Given the health risk and pollution, the state government has issued a few Diwali celebration guidelines for the citizens. CM Uddhav Thackeray urged the people to celebrate the festival with simplicity, staying at home and not to burst firecrackers.
Odisha government has banned the sale and use of firecrackers as well. The ban period during the festive season is implemented from November 10 to 30. The step has been taken in order to keep a check on air pollution that has aggravated the health conditions of COVID-19 patients.
As per Supreme Court guidelines, Karnataka government has allowed the sale and bursting of green crackers. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had appealed to people to maintain the health guidelines as the nation still battles with the coronavirus pandemic.
Rajasthan CM, Ashok Gehlot prohibited the sale and burning of firecrackers ahead of all states on November 2. He urged the people to celebrate the festival while considering the health risk from the coronavirus outbreak and air pollution.