Delhi gears up for less noisy, less toxic Diwali

CRACKDOWN: Over 1,200 kg firecrackers seized and 29 arrested –

New Delhi: It is expected to be a less noisy and less toxic Diwali this year after the Supreme Court imposed a ban on sale of firecrackers in Delhi and the NCR.
While some people claim to have found different ways to get firecrackers through door step deliveries by traders and also online purchases, some seem to have got the message to celebrate the festival without adding to the already alarming air pollution levels in the capital.
Many fire cracker lovers IANS spoke with on Diwali eve said they struggled in sourcing them but eventually managed to get crackers either online or bought them from other places close to the NCR.
Despite reports about an upswing in the black market of crackers, one of the traders approached by an IANS correspondent simply refused to deliver any products but said people were welcome to come and buy on November 1 — by when the Supreme Court ban will be over.
Amit, 42, from Ajit Fireworks near Jama Masjid, said he was getting calls from a lot of people, especially kids, requesting for some crackers, but they were simply told, “No, you will have to wait till the end of this month.”
Others in the market, he said, had switched off their phones to avoid calls from buyers.
The Supreme Court on October 9 banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR till November 1 to curb rising pollution levels during Diwali.
Delhi Police said it seized over 1,200 kg firecrackers and arrested 29 people for selling firecrackers illegally in the capital. Last year on Diwali, PM2.5 levels in some areas of Delhi increased to 1,238.
The World Health Organization recommends that PM2.5 is kept below 10 as an annual average, as exposure to average annual concentrations of PM2.5 of 35 or above is associated with a 15 per cent higher long-term mortality risk.
Delhi and NCR are one of the worst polluted regions in the world, with an annual average PM2.5 measurement of 122.
On Tuesday, average air-quality index reading for Delhi was said to be “very poor” and “severe”, amid apprehensions that firecrackers on Diwali would further worsen the air quality.
But for many Diwali is all about fireworks. “We have made arrangements in our society and somehow made it available to everybody in our area,” said Pramod Shah, 51, an east Delhi resident.
— IANS