India is currently facing two big problems – Covid-19 and air pollution. In the past couple of weeks, a number of states in the country have banned bursting of firecrackers as the Diwali season is upon us. While some states have announced a total ban, others have only prohibited the use of ‘imported’ firecrackers.
A few other states are reportedly considering a similar ban on bursting firecrackers.
On Monday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s government was the first to take the decision to ban the sale and bursting of firecrackers to protect the health of Covid-19 patients and the public from the smoke emanating from firecrackers. A penalty of Rs 2,000 on anyone found violating the order, the state government announced.
Following into Rajasthan government’s footsteps, the Odisha government announced a ban on the sale of bursting firecrackers, from November 10-30. Odisha announced the decision a day after Rajasthan made the ban. Odisha chief secretary A K Tripathy said in an order that any person found violating the order shall be punished under the provision of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and other relevant laws.
On Wednesday, the Sikkim government announced a blanket ban on firecrackers to protect the health of Covid-19 patients and those who have recovered from Covid-19. Sikkim Chief Secretary S K Gupta signed a notification saying that the number of cases has been on the decline and felt the use of firecrackers would increase air pollution which could be hazardous for Covid-19 patients.
Over numerous years, New Delhi has been witnessing toxic smog days after Diwali. One of the many reasons for this bursting of firecrackers. This time, not only is the country’s capital facing air pollution but also Covid-19. In the last few day, New Delhi has witnessed a massive surge in fresh daily infections, including record highs. On Thursday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a ban on the use of all firecrackers till November 30.
The very same day when New Delhi announced the ban on the use of firecracker, the Calcutta High Court too banned the use of firecrackers in the state on Kali Puja, Diwali and Chhath Puja to check the spread of Covid-19 in the state. “The court has banned the sale and use of fireworks and crackers during Kali Puja, Diwali and Chhath Puja this year. There would be no immersion processions this year,” said lawyer Sabyasachi Chatterjee, who had filed the PIL in the court seeking orders to this effect.
Maharashtra also joined the list of states to put some sort of a ban on bursting crackers. On Friday, the state government issued guidelines to curb the spread of Covid-19 during Diwali. The state government is urging citizens to avoid bursting crackers. Meanwhile on Thursday, Mumbai civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation also known as BMC has announced it will ban bursting of firecrackers at public places within the city. Violators have been warned of penalising by the agency.
Karnataka became the latest to join the list. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Friday announced that the government has banned bursting of firecrackers this Diwali festival and orders will be issued on the matter soon.
Meanwhile, states like Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have banned the sale and distribution of “imported” firecrackers.