What's Diwali without crackers, ask Delhi youth



New Delhi: Despite heavy smog enveloping the city for the past many days and the government's appeal to celebrate Diwali sans firecrackers and pollution, young people in Delhi are all set to have a blast with loud and bright crackers.

The government's appeals will not "dampen the festive spirit", many young people told a news agency.

The Delhi government's Department of Environment and Forests issued an advertisement in several dailies recently, urging people to "celebrate a green Diwali without firecrackers and pollution".

"Diwali is all about lights and sounds. Can you imagine a silent Diwali? Please don't dampen the festive spirit. These are stupid appeals that no one will follow," said 17-year-old Manish Gosain, a resident of central Delhi, busy making preparations for Diwali.

Delhi was under the grip of smog for almost two weeks (October 27-November 08), affecting people with asthma and other breathing disorders.

Scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) have said that the city is expected to witness even more pollution after Diwali, November 13, as there is the likelihood of a western disturbance coinciding with smoke from firecrackers.

Even though many young people admitted that the pollution and smog were matters of concern, they asserted that they would not part ways with crackers, described as the "soul of Diwali".

"Why can't the government curb pollution during rest of the year? No they won't do anything on their part and then they expect us to stay away from crackers! Do they know that we wait 364 days for this festival," said a fuming Neha Jain, 19-year-old student of Indraprastha University.

There are some young people, though, who have found a solution of sorts.

"I will burn crackers that emit bright light but very low noise and air pollution. These crackers, popularly called sky shots, are expensive. Even so, at least I am not adding to the problem of smog," said 21-year-old Kabir Gulnar, a student residing in west Delhi.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said air pollution declined in the capital on Diwali in 2011 as compared to 2010, but the noise level rose marginally due to the bursting of louder crackers.

IANS