Delhi deafened on Diwali eve

| | New Delhi
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Delhi deafened on Diwali eve

Sunday, 12 November 2023 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

The festive atmosphere of Diwali in South Delhi was overshadowed on Saturday for many residents on the eve of the festival of lights due to the unauthorised bursting of firecrackers, in clear defiance of the Supreme Court’s directive.

It caused disruptions,

escalating noise pollution in the city.

Despite a categorical ban on the sale, manufacturing, storage, and use of fireworks, secret dealings involving firecrackers continued unabated in the national Capital. The surreptitious circulation of firecrackers has raised concerns regarding the Capital’s pollution levels, as the noxious emissions from these incendiary devices further compound the already elevated levels of noise pollution.

Several senior citizens have expressed their distress, citing sleepless nights on the eve of Diwali. Regrettably, their repeated appeals for assistance to Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) have remained unanswered.

A resident of Sainik Farm in South Delhi, requesting anonymity, said, “The noise from firecrackers in my neighbourhood has become intolerable. I attempted to reach out to the RWA and the emergency number, but my calls have gone unanswered. I even called emergency numbers but to no avail.”

The continued sale and usage of firecrackers have left many experts perplexed. According to some shopkeepers, these firecrackers are sneaked in from Uttar Pradesh and then sold across Delhi. Most shopkeepers have stored these firecrackers inside their houses and are selling them only to known persons in their localities.

In the South, Outer, North East, and East districts, the noise of firecrackers going off can be heard. Experts fear that if the volume of firecrackers burst increases again this year, the air quality is likely to deteriorate further.

The air quality across Delhi remains in the “poor” category, as reported by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a day after rain in the national capital and surrounding areas washed away the toxic haze, providing some relief to residents and marginally improving air quality.

At 7 am, the Capital’s air quality index (AQI) stood at 219, which is a marked improvement compared to Thursday’s 24-hour average AQI of 437.

A survey by LocalCircles indicated that 32 per cent of people in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) are likely to burn firecrackers this Diwali. The Delhi Police conducted a flag march in overcrowded markets on Saturday, revealing that they had seized over 11,000 kg of firecrackers between October 16 and November 9.

“A flag march was conducted in South Delhi, starting from Virat Chowk, Ambedkar Nagar, in view of the ongoing festive season. Security has been tightened in other markets such as Janpath Market, Connaught Place, Sarojani Market, Khan Market, Chandni Chowk, and Sadar Bazar,” said a senior police official. In light of the festive season, SHOs (Station House Officers) in different areas have already been directed to maintain a strict vigil.

“We have requested the traffic police to arrange proper facilities for parking and issue alerts regarding traffic jams for the convenience of commuters,” officials added. The Arvind Kejriwal Government has imposed a complete ban on crackers.

In line with the latest Supreme Court order rejecting a petition by the Firecracker Manufacturers Association to include Barium in green crackers, various State Governments across India issued directives regarding permissible crackers and the allowed window for their use.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on October 9 notified a blanket ban on firecrackers across the national Capital until January 1, 2024. This ban encompasses the manufacturing, storage, bursting, and sale of all types of crackers, including green crackers.

Earlier, the Delhi Government announced the “Diya Jalao, Patakhe nahi” campaign in the city on Friday amid concerns of rising pollution after the Diwali festival. But it seems the City Government’s campaign has failed.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the Delhi health department advised a slew of measures in view of the pollution.  The advisory, published in major dailies,  has also underlined that pregnant women, patients with underlying medical conditions, children and the elderly population should be more cautious and avoid exposure to air pollution.

However, intermittent rains on Thursday night and Friday brought major relief from the hazardous air lingering over the national capital for two weeks. It also prompted the Delhi government to postpone the implementation of the odd-even car rationing scheme.

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