Despite ban, revellers light up, burst crackers in Delhi on Diwali night

Despite ban, revellers light up, burst crackers in Delhi on Diwali night

New Delhi | Despite a blanket ban on fireworks in the national capital owing to runaway pollution and worsening air quality, revellers across the city engaged in bursting firecrackers with abandon on Diwali night.

Visuals from Lodhi Road and Punjabi Bagh showed fireworks lighting up the night sky across several areas in the national capital.

People in Nangloi were also spotted lighting firecrackers amid the festivities.

Earlier, in a bid to rein in the city's rising pollution graph and prevent the air quality from worsening further, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government had imposed a complete ban on firecrackers, an official release from the Government of NCT of Delhi stated.

"Pollution rises significantly during winters in Delhi; instructions are given to impose a complete ban on the manufacture, storage, sale, and bursting of firecrackers," Environment Minister Gopal Rai was quoted as saying in a press release.

Earlier, on Friday, the Delhi government announced the 'Diya Jalao, Patakhe nahi' campaign in the city amid concerns of the pollution numbers spiking after the Festival of Lights.

The announcement came after the Supreme Court, earlier in the day, directed the Delhi government to arrive at a definitive decision on the implementation of the 'Odd-Even' vehicle rationing scheme. The court, however, refrained from taking a decision itself, as it left the matter in the hands of the Delhi government.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR-India), the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the national capital, at 9.18 pm on Diwali night, was recorded at 197 'moderate'.

There was a slight improvement in the city's air quality on Saturday following the rainfall on Friday.

Environment Minister Gopal Rai, earlier on Sunday, urged everyone not to burst firecrackers and it would exacerbate the woes of the people, who are already struggling to breathe clean air in the city.

The minister urged the people to celebrate the festival by lighting earthen lamps (diyas) instead.

"I urge people in Delhi and nearby areas to celebrate Diwali by lighting diyas. They should refrain from bursting crackers as it would further inconvenience people, who are already struggling to breathe clean air. This festival is about spreading happiness and adding to the worries," Rai told ANI.

The air quality in the national capital slipped to alarming levels as smoke from crop residue burning in neighbouring states -- Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana -- resulted in a thick blanket of smog or toxic air descending over the city.

In Noida, the AQI on Sunday stood at 200, while in Gurugram, the same was recorded at 142.

Meanwhile, in Mumbai, which, too, has seen the air quality dropping to alarming levels this year, people were spotted bursting firecrackers on Diwali night.

Visuals from Shivaji Park showed revellers in large numbers lighting up crackers.

In the wake of the worsening air quality in the city, the Mumbai High Court permitted the busting of firecrackers only for 3 hours in the country's commercial capital -- between 7 pm and 10 pm.

The Bombay HC on Monday passed interim directions to the Maharashtra government and municipal authorities in Mumbai and surrounding areas to mobilise urgent steps to mitigate worsening air pollution.

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