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Friday, Aug 16, 2019

Flop or not? Twitter debates SC ban on sale of firecrackers as Delhi pollution soars

Air pollution levels soared but it was also Delhi’s cleanest Diwali in three years.

delhi Updated: Oct 20, 2017 12:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
People walk near the India Gate a day after Diwali, in New Delhi.
People walk near the India Gate a day after Diwali, in New Delhi. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Delhi-NCR woke up to the annual sight of smog a day after Diwali. And it set off a Twitter debate about the efficacy of Supreme Court’s ban on sale of firecrackers in the region.

While there were reports of a quieter Diwali, many users said the top court’s ban on sale of firecrackers proved futile because it didn’t stop people from bursting crackers. “It’s totally flop now..continuously people r bursting more crackers than previous year... (sic),” wrote Bharatendu Prakash on Thursday.

Allegations of SC ‘targeting’ Hindu festivals resurfaced on social media, claiming the judiciary had lost “respect” with its ruling. Others tweeted that they burst crackers just to protest against the ban.

Ousted AAP leader Kapil Mishra too jumped in the bandwagon, tweeting about bursting leftover crackers from last year.

The debate was countered with the hashtag #breathe, with people lamenting that Delhi residents didn’t realise the impact of air pollution. Journalist Sagarika Ghost tweeted: “Disappointed to report crackers are back with a vengeance. There goes my peaceful neighbourhood. Clearly we prefer to choke than #breathe.”

The Supreme Court had earlier this month reinstated its ban on the sale of firecrackers to prevent the toxic haze that engulfs Delhi and neighbouring areas annually during the onset of winter. Air quality too worsens around Diwali and the dense smog is often attributed to pollution from firecrackers, burning of crops in Punjab and Haryana and vehicular emissions.

Did people actually burst more crackers?

Despite the ban, online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations in Delhi recorded ‘very poor’ air quality as the level of pollutants rose sharply from around 7pm on Thursday.

However, this year’s pollution level of 319 was also the lowest since 2015, with the Air Quality Index recorded as 431 or ‘severe’ on the day of Diwali in 2016. AQI was 343 during the Hindu festival a year before.

Although it is difficult to quantify the immediate effect of the ban on firecrackers, residents across the national capital reported less noise pollution smoke till about 6pm, compared to the previous years.

Check real-time air quality in your city: 

First Published: Oct 20, 2017 10:24 IST

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