SC brings back ban on firecrackers in Delhi-NCR

  • SC brings back ban on firecrackers in Delhi-NCR

SC brings back ban on firecrackers in Delhi-NCR

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh on Tuesday invited Delhiites to come down to the state to celebrate Diwali, a day after the Supreme Court banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR till 1 November. The apex court bench observed that due to the adverse effects of burning of firecrackers, "the air quality deteriorates abysmally and alarmingly and the city chokes thereby". This is often blamed on burning of unwanted vegetation on farms in neighbouring states, usual at this time of year, worsened by fumes from fireworks. But the court said its September 12, 2017 decision - saying a total ban on firecrackers' sale in Delhi NCR is too "radical a step" and a graded, gradual approach to a complete ban should be adopted - would be effective from November 1. Lawyer Kshitij Kaushal said, "Ideally online retailers should not do this. Hopefully they won't do that", she told Asian News International, a partner of Reuters Television. This means that Diwali, which will be celebrated on October 19, is likely to be firecracker-free and silent this year.

The government welcomed the move, with Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan requesting people to abide by the order.

According to a Hindustan Times report, anyone keen on buying firecrackers legally will have to travel for hours and cover almost 140 kms to 200 kms from the eastern and southern borders of Delhi - that is how far the ban will legally apply!

Last November, about a million children were forced to stay home from school, thousands of workers reported sick and queues formed outside shops selling face masks as New Delhi struggled with its worst pollution for almost 20 years.

India and China together account for more than half of the 4.2 million deaths attributable to air pollution worldwide in 2015, a study by the USA -based Health Effects Institute (HEI) showed.

Memories of last Diwali would still be raw in the minds of NCR inhabitants, who were left with no option but to breathe in toxic air, whose levels of particulate matter 2.5 had crossed the accepted parameters laid down by the World Health Organization, by about 29 times.

Now, after petitioner Arjun Gopal petitioned to reinstate the ban, so as not to let a surge of air pollution levels like previous year, the Supreme Court has given a green signal.