Morning after Diwali disappoints activists, residents of Delhi-NCR
New Delhi: A day after Diwali, there was anguish and some searching questions as a hazy morning dawned over Delhi-NCR, with many residents voicing their helplessness at the violation of the Supreme Court's 8-10 pm deadline of bursting firecrackers.
The city recorded its worst air quality in the year on Thursday morning, with the air quality index jumping to 574, which falls in the 'severe-plus emergency' category – meaning that even healthy people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on a prolonged exposure to such air.
"Delhi is a gas chamber for TB patients like me. We are caught in a bind. If we escape TB, then we will die of pollution," Hasmukh Rai, a elderly resident of Mayur Vihar.
"In this season, when everybody is talking of bringing ordinances on variety of issues, why can't politicians join hands and bring ordinance to ban stubble burning?" he asked.
South Delhi resident Sagarika Sharma said she had lost her mother to lung cancer last year due to this hazardous pollution. "My mother was not a smoker or drinker, but yes, she was guilty of living in Delhi."
Sharma wonders how people cannot understand the repercussions of bursting crackers. "I understand they want to celebrate, but at the cost of digging ones own grave!"
Even as the police launched a crackdown the violators and made multiple arrests, several people said, for them, Diwali meant bursting firecrackers.
"Since childhood, we have been bursting crackers on Diwali. We do not understand green or red crackers. What we know is that it is a symbol of the festival for us and we will continue doing it," said Himanshu Bhalla, a Gurugram resident.
Environmental activists said the police needed to be supported by governments to strictly enforce the ban.
"The judiciary has given our executive the necessary tools. We request our lawmakers to support our executive and all three arms of our democracy to work together to protect citizens health at this time of national health emergency," said Jyoti Pande Lavakare, co-founder, Care for Air NGO.
"We would like our leadership and our prime minister to acknowledge this health emergency and encourage implementation of solutions," she added.
Ravina Kohli, member of #MyRightToBreathe campaign, said people were in denial of the health impact of burning
firecrackers of their health. "The police could have been helped by the politicians and local authorities for strictly enforcing the order."MPOST