Kejriwal issues directive to ban firecracker licenses ahead of Diwali
The CM of Delhi has asked Delhi Police for a complete ban on issuing licenses for selling crackers, as well as the manufacturing, storage, online sale, and bursting of firecrackers
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Monday said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has issued a directive to the city police against granting licenses for the sale, manufacture or storage of firecrackers ahead of Diwali, which will fall on 11 November this year.
The action is aimed at reducing pollution levels during Diwali as well as the winter season. Rai added that Kejriwal has instructed the Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCC) to impose a complete ban on the manufacturing, storage, online sale, and bursting of firecrackers.
"We all celebrate Diwali with great enthusiasm. Besides lighting lamps, we also burst crackers, which results in a thick cloud of smoke which engulfs the whole of Delhi the day after Diwali. When the pollution from stubble burning is added to this, the AQI reaches severe levels," the minister said.
Rai explained that this is why they have designed a winter action plan to combat pollution.
"We are aware that pollution increases in Delhi with the arrival of winter. Delhi's AQI remained low between January and August, recording 45 in Delhi yesterday (Sunday). However in October, as winter advances, particulate matter (PM) begins to accumulate, making the environment toxic due to both local and external pollution sources."
The minister also said they are holding a meeting with environmental experts on Tuesday, 12 September, and another with all department officials is scheduled for 14 September.
Rai added that on 23 October 2018, the Supreme Court had issued an order allowing only green crackers in the capital. However, it was observed that various types of crackers were sold and burst under the guise of green crackers, leading to severe pollution.
On 12 January 2020, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed an order to ban crackers entirely in the National Capital Region, where pollution levels reach the severe category.
DPCC imposed a complete ban on the manufacturing and storage of crackers on 28 September 2021.
"In 2022, there was also a complete ban on crackers. In 2014, PM levels used to be 324, which have now reduced to 188. PM 2.5 has also decreased by 46 per cent. PM 10 has witnessed a 42 per cent decline between 2014 and 2023. The Delhi chief minister has decided and directed the DPCC to ban the manufacturing, storage, online sale, bursting, etc," Rai said.
Rai stated that Delhi Police issues licenses for selling crackers each year, so the administration is issuing directions to the Delhi Police to not grant any licenses for the storage, sale, or manufacturing of crackers to help reduce pollution.
"We have noticed that people in Delhi secretly bring crackers from other states. We appeal to neighbouring states to adhere to the NGT order, and will also write to them," he added.