Diwali: More than just firecrackers
After the much needed ban on the sale of firecrackers, Delhiites came forth to speak about their Diwali plans.
For the second time since November 2016, the Supreme Court has temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region. And given that it came just 10 days before the festival, many people seemed to be surprised at the sudden decision. Despite delivering a big blow to the industry, the ban on sale of firecrackers is a small solution to a bigger problem. North India needs a more holistic solution to the toxic fumes which residents breathe at the onset of winter. Even though the relative contribution of vehicular pollution, construction dust, waste burning, and crop burning in the neighbouring regions are indeterminate, these remain some of the major sources of pollution in the Delhi-NCR region.
While many residents agree to the trials and tribulations of the firecracker sale ban, they also agree that this was a necessary first step towards a better and healthy future. These residents, from different parts of the Capital share how they plan to celebrate their Diwali and what they think about the chaos i.e. firecracker sale ban.
Archita, a journalism student, who lives in Paschim Vihar says that cracker sale ban did not affect her at all because they have stopped burning crackers a long time ago. "The main reason behind not burning crackers, for me was to protect the stray dogs. I have seen how painful and scary it is for them. Also, burning crackers is one of the major contributors to the pollution so, it was a big no for me already and I believe putting a ban to the sales is absolutely the right decision." The daughter of Roop Chhabra, a businessman, plans to celebrate this Diwali by playing UNO, dancing and eating together with her friends and family. And being an animal lover, she will also try to give shelter to the dogs in her parking area for that day.
The DU friends
Jaya Arya and Abhilasha Salkar are all in for an eco-friendly Diwali. "The firecracker sale ban did not affect in any way as I will be celebrating cracker-free Diwali this year and adopt the same strategy in the coming years as well. I am definitely in favour of the ban. At least now, the pollution from crackers won't add up to the existing pollution from different sources. Everyone should light diyas and have an eco-friendly Diwali," insisted Jaya. Whereas Abhilasha, who is pursuing her Masters in English, along with Jaya wants to celebrate the festival with lots of lights, friends and family, and sweets. She believes that crackers are not the microcosm of Diwali and appreciates the initiative by the Government.
The Punjabi family
Maninderjeet Singh and his family from Janakpuri will be meeting their relatives on Diwali night as they plan to spend the festival dancing and eating together. On the other hand, Maninder feels that there are two sides to firecracker ban. He says, "Firecrackers are a big source of air and noise pollution which cause a lot of chronic health problems. It is also wastage of money and hence, I am in full support of the ban on the sale of crackers but it cannot be ignored that the industry provides employment to lakhs of workers." One thing that Maninder and his family agree on is the onset of alarmingly increased pollution levels after Diwali.
The Nuclear family
"Ban on cracker sale doesn't affect us in any way because like every year, we are going to sit together and have a good time with family and friends," says S K Bal. The nuclear family from Dwarka says that this decision was needed a long time ago. "If you have been through last year's toxic Diwali in Delhi, then you will support the ban. In fact, there should be a complete ban on firecrackers until the situation gets under control." The youngest in the family and an engineering student, Ronak, traverses frequently between Dwarka and Greater Noida and he can feel the huge difference in the air quality between. He says, "One can feel the smog in the air of the Capital. Last year, it was horrendous – burning eyes, parched throat and smog everywhere. I think this is one of the landmark decisions by the Supreme Court. When you have 10 or 20 times more pollution than the permissible levels, then I think it's high time that we do something about it," he added.