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Friday, 13 November 2020

Does Diwali fireworks increase pollution? What are the Supreme Court guidelines regarding fireworks?

Bhaskar Explaner:Does Diwali fireworks increase pollution? What are the Supreme Court guidelines regarding fireworks? Learn

Diwali has come and like every year there is a discussion that bursting firecrackers increases air pollution. Some people are also against it and are calling it a necessity to firecrackers in association with religion and tradition. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned the sale of fireworks in Delhi-NCR from November 9 to 30 in view of rising air pollution. Not only in Delhi, but also in other states in the country where air quality is poor, fireworks will not be sold.

The question is whether Diwali fireworks are responsible for the pollution. What do the Supreme Court guidelines say on fireworks? Let's understand ...

How do you know if air pollution has increased?
How good or bad the air is is measured by the Air Quality Index (AQI). An AQI is considered 'good' when it is between 0 and 50. When between 51 and 100 it is considered 'satisfactory', when it is between 101 and 200 it is considered 'moderate', between 201 and 300 it is considered 'bad' and between 301 and 400 it is considered 'very bad'. When it stays between 401 and 500 it is considered 'serious'. The air quality index was 326 in Delhi on Thursday. This has improved over the past, but even now the air here is ‘too bad’.

How do you know if the air is getting worse?
Understanding that is not rocket science. There are tiny particles in the air. Even 100 times shorter than hair, called PM2.5. PM stands for Particulate Matter. When these tiny particles rise in the air, the air begins to deteriorate. PM2.5 means 2.5 micron particles. Micron is 1 millionth of a meter or 1 thousandth of a millimeter. Visibility is affected when the number of these tiny particles in the air increases. These particles enter our body and mix with the blood. This increases the risk of diseases such as asthma and difficulty breathing. According to the State of Global Air 2020, bad air was the cause of more than 1.16 lakh infant deaths in our country in 2019, while more than 16.7 lakh people lost their lives this year.

Why is the weather in Delhi bad every year during Diwali?
There are two main reasons. The first which is natural and the second we ourselves. The first thing is natural. With the end of the monsoon season in September, the wind direction changes. By the end of October the temperature starts to drop, the humidity starts to rise and the wind speed decreases. This causes these polluted particles to accumulate in the air, which degrades the air quality. Second, we ourselves. Delhi has more than 1 crore cars, much more than Mumbai and Kolkata.

According to an estimate, 1400 cars are sold every day in Delhi. This car emits smoke, which makes the air worse. Besides, farmers in Punjab and Haryana burn dry grass during this season. There was strong opposition last year. All this causes the air to deteriorate.

Now how many fireworks are responsible for making the air worse?
When there are so many reasons for bad weather in Delhi, how much should firecrackers be blamed for it? In February 2018, the University of Minnesota and the National Institute of Finance and Policy published a research on the effect of fireworks on Delhi's bad weather. Data from 2013 to 2016 were taken for it. According to this research, the amount of PM 2.5 in Delhi increased by 40% every year on the day after Diwali. On the day of Diwali, there was a 100 per cent increase in PM 2.5 between 6 pm and 11 pm.

The Central Pollution Control Board, a central government agency, also believes that firecrackers emit 15 substances that are dangerous and toxic to humans. Last year, AQI level 368 was recorded on Diwali, which was much better than 2018. AQI reached 642 on Diwali 2018. This was 367 in 2017 and 425 in 2016.

Read in Gujarati news 

Are fireworks prohibited? Supreme Court guidelines on what is

In 2018, the Supreme Court issued guidelines on fireworks. The court did not ban the fireworks but said only eco-friendly fireworks could be fired. If someone burns fireworks other than eco-friendly fireworks, legal action can be taken against them.
Loud fireworks will not be sold. Only green and safe fireworks will be sold. Only licensed shopkeepers can sell fireworks.
If there is a violation of Supreme Court guidelines in an area, the police station in-charge of that area will be held responsible.
On the day of Diwali, fireworks can be set off only from 8 to 10 pm. Fireworks are only allowed on Christmas and New Year's Day from 11.55pm to 12.30pm.

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