In November 2016, the Supreme Court had decided to ban the sale of fireworks in Delhi-NCR. This week, the SC re-imposed the ban until November 1, citing “direct evidence of deterioration of air quality at alarming levels” during Diwali every year.
The court clarified that last year, Diwali firecrackers had shot up the pm (particulate matter) levels by three times, making Delhi’s air pollution worst in the world!
In effect, this is the first Diwali Delhi will celebrate without fireworks and if the plan succeeds, the restriction could be implemented across the country.
Maharashtra environment minister Ramdas Kadam, who is also a Shiv Sena politician, has already spoken in support of the ban and will request CM Devendra Fadnavis to implement it in Maharashtra too.
As environmentalists, doctors and noise-hating citizens are pleased with the decision, shopkeepers, cracker lovers and traditionalists are disappointed. Their reasons may vary, but they all want the same outcome: crackers should not be banned during Diwali.
Let’s take a look at what young India has to say.
Diwali Without Fireworks: Why Not?
As a little girl, I remember how much I would look forward to bursting crackers during Diwali vacation. The multicoloured lights would pale in comparison only to the traditional goodies sent over by the neighbours.
It’s sad that children today cannot enjoy the same, but it’s important to make their generation aware of the implications of fireworks on climate change.
Moreover, Diwali is ‘the festival of lights’, not crackers. Why not spread the light with diyas and lanterns, which has been an age-old Diwali tradition anyway?
Personally, I think crackers should be avoided on all other occasions as well – no exceptions.
A Ban Is Not the Solution, But It’s a Start
Chennai-based B.Com student Vrushti Mehta, 18, thinks the ban is a good idea. As an animal lover and environmentally-conscious individual, she gets why crackers should be a thing of the past.
She says, “I support the decision. A ban is not the absolute solution, but there are people who follow the rules and I guess they won’t burst crackers after this ban. Small changes are needed to achieve something big.
“I stopped bursting crackers seven years ago. Nowadays if I hear one burst, my heart skips a beat. When as a human I feel afraid about the sound, how can I do something which will hurt and frighten other animals?”
Spread Awareness to Avoid Discontent
Although a ban is the need of the hour, the masses are prone to resenting it. Some people have already made public statements about how it is an anti-Hindu move. Saad Shaikh, 20, who is currently pursuing his Masters in English in Pune, agrees.
“It’s a decision that will surely make a positive difference, environmentally speaking. However, given the sensitive state of affairs in the country, such issues naturally tend to be perceived with a communal colour.
“To avoid resentment, the SC should take care to elaborate on its decision and minimise misinformed displeasure amongst the masses.
“For instance, they should state facts about the harmful effects (of fireworks) on the environment and the significant difference the ban would bring about. The decision also reflects the Indian response to the Paris conference on climate change.”
No matter which politician or public figure tries to make this a communal issue, the ban is purely environmental.
In fact, post November 1, the ban will not be in effect because its objective will be met: determining whether avoiding fireworks will lower pollution in Delhi.
Anybody who values clean air and peace should avoid bursting crackers this Diwali, even if they do not reside in Delhi. We cannot afford to ignore the hazards of firecrackers anymore.
What do you think of the ban? Share your views in the comments below.
Image Credit: TOI