Even as people are getting ready to celebrate the biggest festival of the year, perennially worsening air pollution and fear of spread of Coronavirus pandemic are going to dampen the spirits of festivity. Several state governments in the country have imposed various kinds of restrictions to check air pollution and keep the pandemic in check. While a few states prone to severe air pollution have imposed complete bans on firecrackers, some other states have allowed people to burn ‘green’ firecrackers which emit considerably less harmful gases in the atmosphere. Here is how different states will celebrate the festival this year.
Delhi: Running the government in arguably the most polluted city in the country, the Delhi government had banned the use of firecrackers in the city a few weeks in advance. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had banned the use of firecrackers on September 15. CM Kejriwal cited prioritising health of people over celebration and said the move was essential to save the lives of people.
Maharashtra: Without resorting to any coercive measure or ban, the state government of Maharashtra has urged people not to use firecrackers and instead light a lamp on the occasion. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has also urged the residents of the state not to overcrowd the market for Diwali shopping and abide by all the Coronavirus guidelines.
Punjab: The state government of Punjab has allowed the residents of the state to burst crackers during the two hour window on the occasion of Diwali. However, the use of firecrackers has been completely banned in a few regions of the state including Jalandhar and Mandi Gobindgarh owing to the severe air quality levels in these areas.
Uttar Pradesh: The UP government has also taken a selective approach for regions that have poor air quality standards including the National Capital Region (NCR) in the state where the use of firecrackers has been completely banned. The government has also clarified that the use of firecrackers will be banned in cities that have poor or worse air quality levels.
Assam: The Assam Pollution Control Board has also imposed ban on the use of firecrackers. However, the board has allowed residents of the state to burst green crackers during a limited time window of two hours between 8 PM and 10 PM.