The Delhi government has urged residents to consider celebrating a firecracker-free Diwali this year. Citing safety and pollution reasons, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has also written to the department of customs (import and general), to nip the issue in the bud and ensure that harmful imported firecrackers do not make it into the city.
“No one should import firecrackers from any country and the customs shall ensure that consignments which violates prescribed norm are not allowed to enter Delhi,” the communication to the customs department said.
Imran Hussain, the environment minister of Delhi, met with representatives from pollution controlling agencies on Thursday to put an action plan in place to combat the high levels of air and noise pollution levels during the festive season. Measures will be taken to ensure that banned imported firecrackers do not reach consumers, noise levels do not exceed healthy levels and people are dissuaded from using crackers at all, officials said.
Agencies have been instructed to place restriction on licenses for sale of firecrackers. The Delhi Police have been asked to inform wholesalers in Delhi that imported firecrackers are banned and any one found in violation of these provisions will have to face legal actions.
Imported firecrackers, especially those from China, were banned earlier this year, after reports of how Chinese crackers spontaneously exploded came to light. Hussain has also suggested that officers should randomly check storage spaces and shops to ensure that no illegal firecracker has slipped through the seams.
Another major concern during Diwali, in addition to safety, is that of pollution. Noise pollution can pose serious health hazards like hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and even increased blood sugar, cholesterol and adrenaline levels.
A Supreme Court directive had earlier stated that just as an Indian citizen is assured the freedom of speech and expression in the constitution, individuals also have the right to ‘decline to listen.’ Hence, noise levels cannot exceed beyond healthy levels and crackers should not be burst between 10PM and 6 AM. Hussain has advised the agencies to ensure that this rule is enforced.