New Delhi: While Diwali is a time for celebration, an opportunity for people to enjoy and make merry, the festivities don the garb of a choking hazard the following day.
Air pollution in Delhi/NCR has been a matter of concern for the government, ever since Diwali 2016, when the harmful particulate matter in the air ceased to drop and the capital was enveloped in a thick veil of smog – the worst in 17 years.
It was worsened further after farmers in Haryana and Punjab indulged in crop burning.
However, after reserving their ruling on a plea saying that firecrackers during the upcoming festival of Diwali should be banned, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the suspension of licenses for sale of crackers in the national capital.
October has already seen eight days with the air at unhealthy levels. Experts blame the resumption of crop burning since late September. Add to that the burning of firecrackers on Diwali and the national capital will be shrouded in a thick smog.
While the Supreme Court's ruling of banning the sale of firecrackers till November 1, 2017 comes as a silver lining for the air in the national capital, will the people be able to restrain themselves to buy them from elsewhere?
Pollution has become a major menace not just in India, but around the world. While climate change is often blamed, human contribution which has led to the increase in pollutants in the air cannot go without mention.
Factors such as vehicular emissions, low wind speeds, dust from construction sites and smoke from power plants and factories – apart from stubble burning – lead to alarming pollution levels yearly.
With pollutants in the air becoming more and more aggressive with each passing day, there is increased toxicity in the air, which is gradually enlarging the radar of threat upon the population.
Whether the ban on firecrackers this Diwali will improve the national capital's air quality remains to be seen.