Hoping (against hope) for a greener Diwali

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Renuka Bisht

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Of the 38 stations that monitor air quality in NCR five were in the ‘severe’ zone yesterday. To prevent a Diwali airpocalypse, Ritam Halder reports that all implementing agencies have been asked to strictly enforce the law for controlling polluting activities, including impounding visibly polluting vehicles. But on the downside, as Jasjeev Gandhiok reports, the low emission ‘green’ crackers that have been in the works for over a year have yet to hit most markets in Delhi.

CSIR-NEERI worked with eight labs to develop these lower-emission crackers. As these are not widely available in the market, yet only a trickle of sales has been reported from shops selling fireworks, are Delhiites finally getting over their self-harming Diwali addiction?

For the first time this year even Durga Puja saw idols being immersed not in the Yamuna but in 89 artificial ponds built across the city; police were uncompromising in protecting the river from recalcitrant devotees. Helped on by an unfortunately slowing economy, are we going to see a similarly environmental turn on the firecracker front too? That would be in great contrast to what we have seen over the years – where even as air quality has worsened and the resulting damage to health has become widely known, people have kept making Diwali smoke.

That they now do this with a mask on their face is surreal. If you know that what you are doing is toxic why are you doing it, not to mention egging your children on to do it too? Babies and children are especially vulnerable because, as WHO says, their lungs are still developing and air pollution can interfere with this biological process; they are more active than adults so they breath in more air/pollution too; and the pollutants can hurt their brains and cognitive development.

A surreal scene from Diwali last year
(Photo by Piyal Bhattacharjee)

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.



via TOI Blog

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