Delhi orders polluting firecrackers ban before Diwali to “save lives”


Smoke rises from fireworks after being lit on the roof of a residential building during Diwali, the festival of lights, in New Delhi, India on October 27, 2019. REUTERS / Altaf Hussain / File Photo

NEW DELHI, Sept. 16 (Reuters) – Authorities in Delhi on Wednesday ordered a ban on the storage, use and sale of firecrackers in the Indian capital ahead of the Diwali festival in an effort to reduce pollution levels in the air that kill thousands of people every year.

India is one of the most polluted countries in the world, and the air quality in Delhi and neighboring northern states normally begins to deteriorate in late September, as farmers start crop fires to keep themselves alive. prepare for a new sowing season.

Delhi recorded some of the worst pollution levels in the world during its last period of peak pollution between October 2020 and January 2021. read more

“In view of the dangerous pollution conditions in Delhi during Diwali over the past 3 years, like last year, a complete ban is imposed (…) so that people’s lives can be saved,” the minister said. Delhi Chief Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter.

Authorities imposed a similar ban last year, but many revelers still burst crackers, causing a toxic haze over the sprawling capital region of 18 million people.

Kejriwal said he was cracking down on crackers long before Diwali so traders wouldn’t stock up.

The comments come as air pollution could pose an additional health risk at a time when the country is already grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

Emissions of dangerous PM2.5 particles per cubic meter of air in Delhi averaged 30.74 micrograms in the first two weeks of September, slightly above the level of 25 per cubic meter deemed safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Indian environmental monitoring agency SAFAR considers a level of PM2.5 particles of 60 to be safe.

Some Indian states have stepped up penalties for burning crop residues over the past two years to avoid an expected increase in air pollution that brings smog every year during cold winter temperatures as part of a federal campaign to clean the air in Delhi.

But local officials in Uttar Pradesh said in August that India’s most populous state would drop lawsuits against farmers accused of burning crop waste, a major source of pollution.

The state is set to elect a new assembly next year, and analysts say the ruling Bharatiya Janata party is trying to appease the farmers. Read more

(This story is corrected to remove the superfluous word from the title)

Reporting by Neha Arora; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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