Firecrackers: Pollution, prohibition or politics?

The Delhi govt has been imposing a blanket ban for the last two consecutive years on the use and sale of all types of firecrackers to prevent the already polluted air from becoming more toxic.
Image used for representational purposes. (File Photo |AP)
Image used for representational purposes. (File Photo |AP)

NEW DELHI: The government's much-talked ''complete ban on the storage, sale, and use of all types of firecrackers'' went in tatters within hours on Diwali night. The sound of firecrackers bursting could be heard at almost all places in Delhi till midnight.

Notably, firecrackers are extensively used in India during various festivals, ceremonies, and social events, and they find a special place during Diwali.  

However, the Delhi government has been imposing a blanket ban for the last two consecutive years on the use and sale of all types of firecrackers in the city to prevent the already polluted air from becoming more toxic.

But the prohibition vis-a-vis the 'firecracker ban', just like every year, went for a toss on Diwali night. Many folks lit up fireworks without any fear and even proudly shared it on social media.

The air quality in Delhi and nearby cities reached hazardous levels a day after Diwali. Most real-time air monitoring platforms this morning pegged the air quality index (AQI) above 500, with some places reaching as high as 900. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium recorded an AQI of 910, Lajpat Nagar 959, and Karol Bagh 779 around 6 am. 

"Proud of You Delhi. These are voices of resistance, voices of freedom and democracy. People are bravely defying the unscientific, illogical, dictatorial ban," Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra posted on 'X' as the city was witnessing incidents of firecracker bursting.

Mishra also termed Delhi Minister Gopal Rai's statement as "shameful" where the latter had blamed the bursting of firecrackers on Diwali night for the rise in pollution levels.

"AAP minister Gopal Rai's statement on pollution is shameful. It is foolish to blame firecrackers for pollution. A week ago today, Delhi's AQI was 500 and the next morning of Diwali, AQI was 296. How did pollution reduce? If there was pollution from firecrackers then Gaza would be having the highest pollution levels in the world. Fight pollution, don't fight children's firecrackers," Mishra said.

Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva too shared similar views and said that the Arvind Kejriwal-led government, just to hide its own failures, is now blaming the bursting of firecrackers.

"Diwali was just for one day. But the whole of north India has been reeling due to air pollution for the past one month... The Supreme Court called you and asked for a permanent solution to the problem. Do you have any concrete solution?" Sachdeva said.

The Delhi BJP chief accused the Aam Aadmi Party of completely being involved in the 'politics of polarisation'. "The problem of air pollution in Delhi is not just a one or two-month problem. It is a 12-month menace that needs to be tackled collectively," he said.  

Sachdeva demanded that the Kejriwal government should call an all-party meeting and present a white paper on the different causes of pollution in Delhi in different seasons and their solutions.

11,249 kg firecrackers seized in 39 days

In the past 39 days from October 1-November 8, the cops have seized 11,249 kg of firecrackers from different parts of the national capital that were being stored for sale during the festival season. Delhi Fire Service received 208 calls on Diwali, of which 22 were related to firecrackers, a senior official informed.

Several cases of burn  injuries reported

Several hospitals in the national capital reported cases of burn injuries, largely caused by firecrackers. While the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital received 89 burn cases on Sunday, the Delhi government’s largest facility, LNJP Hospital, had 11 such cases, according to doctors.

BJP provoked people to flout ban, alleges AAP

Politicians on Monday traded barbs over the bursting of firecrackers on Diwali in the city, with the AAP accusing the BJP of encouraging people to flout the SC ban on crackers. “We saw in some places, especially BJP leaders promoting firecrackers. There was a targeted bursting of firecrackers at some places,” alleged AAP leaders.

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