After Delhi, Odisha, West Bengal and Rajasthan, Karnataka has also banned the sale and use of firecrackers just a few days before Diwali amid concerns around rising pollution and COVID-19 scare in the state. A statement from Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's office said the government has decided to ban firecrackers to keep a check on the deteriorating air quality index, which severely affects the health of those at the risk of COVID-19.
Health officials have warned the state government against health risks associated with polluted air. This can be very dangerous for those affected due to coronavirus; people with comorbidities are at a higher risk of dying due to coronavirus. Yediyurappa said the issue was discussed and that the state government is moving ahead with a ban on fireworks this Diwali. "This is because of COVID-19," he said.
State Health Minister K Sudhakar also said firecrackers can also badly impact the health of those who have already been infected by a coronavirus. He also said experts have advised controlling their use. Notably, Congress-ruled Rajasthan government has also decided to ban the sale of firecrackers during the festive season in the state in the wake of the pandemic. "Protecting the lives of people is paramount for the government in this challenging time," Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said last week.
Similarly, the Odisha government has also put a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers across the state during the festive season to check air pollution. The period of the ban is from November 10 to 30.
In West Bengal, the high court has banned the use of firecrackers during Diwali, Kali Puja and Chatt Puja festivals.
"...we want to hold the Kali Puja and Diwali festivals avoiding firecrackers. The administration appeals to people to avoid firecrackers," Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has also imposed a ban on all kinds of firecrackers, including the green ones, till November 30. In a tweet, Kejriwal said coronavirus cases have increased due to festival season and pollution in Delhi, which was why the state government decided to ban crackers, and ramp up medical infra, oxygen and ICU beds. Delhi's air quality continues to deteriorate further, pushing the air quality to the 'Severe' category. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Air Quality Index is above 400 in most parts of the city with Anand Vihar at 422, RK Puram at 407, Bawana at 430 and ITO at 448.
With PTI inputs