The chief minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin, has written to his counterpart in New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, urging him not to impose a blanket ban on the sale of fireworks that fall within permitted standards.
The Delhi government banned the production, storage, sale and use of fireworks of all kinds on September 7 (File photo)
By Akshaya Nath: When India celebrates Diwali on October 24, this year in Delhi NCR as it will in 2021, the Delhi government has declared a general ban on crackers.
The Supreme Court also noted on October 10, after hearing the plea from BJP MP Manoj Tiwari challenging the general ban on the sale, purchase and use of fireworks during the holiday season, that the court would not renege on its earlier order.
The Supreme Court said how can it allow fireworks, even if they are green crackers? “Have you seen the pollution of Delhi?” SC asked the petitioner.
In 2020, the National Green Tribunal banned the sale of all types of fireworks in any district with an AQI of 201 or more. The air quality index with values between zero and 50 is designated as ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’ and 401 and 500 ‘severe,’ serious’.
Despite the cracker ban in 2021, the AQI for places in Delhi and also the Delhi area remained poor. An average AQI level of 472 was found in Gurugram on the day after Diwali. Ghaziabad had AQI on 470, Noida 475, Greater Noida 464, Manesar 458, Sonepat 400, Faridabad 469, Meerut 435, Rohtak 437, Bhiwadi 418, Baghpat 437 and Ballabgarh 462.
Similarly, the AQI for Delhi on Diwali in 2020 averaged 414 (severe), and in 2019 it was 337 (very bad), while 2018 and 2017 were respectfully 281 (poor), 319 (very bad).
Are crackers reason for poor AQI in Delhi, Sivakasi . members question
Mathan Deivendran, co-owner of Lima Fireworks said: “Last year Delhi celebrated without crackers, but the air quality was still worse than the previous day and it is clear that cracker was not the cause. Likewise, talk about air pollution starts around Diwali, then what about the rest of the 360 or 364 days Besides banning crackers what other efforts have been made The effect of 2 hours fireworks will be gone in 12 hours Why do you stop your AC or other thermal power stations, etc. . . which are the biggest polluters?”
The chief minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin, has written to his counterpart in New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, urging him not to impose a blanket ban on the sale of fireworks that fall within permitted standards. Stalin also pointed out that there are several factors that contribute to air pollution in Indian cities, including emissions from vehicles and industry. Stalin added: “If no other state has imposed a total ban on fireworks, your act of kindness will lighten the lives of thousands of people around Sivakasi, especially rural women who depend on this industry for their livelihood, as Diwali accounts for 70 percent of their annual business.”
ALSO READ | ‘For our children’: Sivakasi fireworks toil despite fear of explosion
Senior DMK leader TKS Elangovan said in an interview with India Today: “The people of Sivakasi have been involved in making crackers for quite some time and that is their livelihood. During Diwali, every state, every household uses crackers to celebrate the festival and when some states stop buying crackers it will affect those involved in this industry and the CM has requested the state government there are strict rules and even timing imposed on cracking crackers with this in mind CM has Stalin written to the CM of Delhi.”
Speaking about the inaction of the Delhi government in controlling pollution in the national capital, TANFAMA Vice President Abiruban G said: “Has the Delhi government taken any action against the first 9 people (based on the IIT). Kanpur report) that contribute to more than 90 percent of pollution throughout the year. Fireworks come once a year..we are the scapegoat. We come from a certain religion and our religious beliefs don’t matter to that government. But he says he is concerned about the future of people in DELHI NCR, but has he shown that concern on the other 364 days of the year? So that should be a question for the people there.”
Echoing this sentiment, the congressman from Virudhanagar that Sivakasi is a part of said: “The fireworks industry does not have a strong voice and the clean lobby is very strong and they are all trying to blame Sivakasi for the pollution in Delhi and this has been refuted even by IIT Kanpur study that says 1 percent pollution is caused by fireworks, but the other 75 percent contributor is unaffected.”
IIT Delhi’s Recent Study on the Contribution of Fireworks to Delhi AQI
A recent study funded in part by IIT Delhi, the Ministry of Education and conducted as part of a collaboration between IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur and PRL Ahmedabad has said that Diwali often coincides with the harvest season and thus the burning of stubble. Both activities are expected to have serious consequences for air quality. However, these coincident events often make it difficult to determine the impact of either on air pollution.
The study entitled ‘Chemical speciation and source distribution of ambient PM2.5 in New Delhi before, during and after the Diwali fireworks’ led by IIT Delhi researchers states that: “Metal content in PM2.5 levels increased by 1100 percent, and the fireworks alone accounted for 95 percent of the metal PM2.5 during Diwali. However, the impact of the fireworks plummets within about 12 hours after Diwali,” IIT D statement said.
Meanwhile, the researchers have found that biomass emissions related to biomass burning rise sharply in the days after Diwali, with average levels rising almost on the order of 2 compared to the pre-Diwali concentration. Also, the source distribution results related to the organic PM2.5 indicate a significant increase in both primary and secondary organic pollutants in the days after Diwali, indicating the role of emissions associated with the combustion of biomass in the increase in the primary organic emissions and, in turn, their old products following the Diwali festival.
As Delhi’s air quality index remains a concern for the citizens of the national capital, working to solve the real problems contributing to air pollution will help Delhi breathe safer and enable a brighter future for cracker production. industry in Sivakasi, say the people of Sivakasi.