Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Government has decided to impose a ban on firecrackers for a third consecutive year. In a tweet, Chief Minister Kejriwal said, “In view of the dangerous condition of Delhi’s Pollution during Diwali for the last three years, like last year, a complete ban is being imposed on the storage, sale and use of all types of firecrackers. So that people’s lives can be saved.”
“In view of the seriousness of pollution after the stocking of firecrackers by traders last year, a complete ban was imposed late, which caused losses to the traders. It is an appeal to all the traders that this time in view of the complete ban, do not do any kind of storage”, Kejriwal said.
This is the third time that the Kejriwal government has imposed a ban on firecrackers in Delhi on the occasion of the Hindu festival Diwali. The city-state government argues that firecrackers are the reason for the rising pollution level in Delhi during the Hindu festive season.
In July 2021, the Supreme Court had dumped an IIT study that showed firecrackers were not a major cause of pollution, dismissing a plea against the ban on firecrackers. A bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna refused to accept the IIT study, saying they did not need IIT to know that firecrackers caused pollution.
Justice Khanwilkar had lashed out at the study, saying, “Do you need IIT to understand that firecrackers impact your health? Ask someone staying in Delhi what happens during Diwali.”
Interestingly, multiple reports have suggested that stubble burning in neighbouring states like Punjab is one of the major reasons for air pollution in Delhi during autumn. Every year, close to the date of Diwali, the farmers of Punjab started to burn stubble to get rid of the residual crop after harvesting. Such stubble burning incidents have caused a spike in air pollution, which has been reported multiple times. Despite the efforts by the union government, state governments like Punjab failed to control stubble burning, and the year 2020 saw the highest number of such incidents in four years. Reports suggested that the Punjab government refused to help the farmers with the stubble issue.