Supreme Court has banned sale of fire crackers in Delhi before this year’s Diwali. The decision will be used to monitor the effect of ban on air quality post Diwali. The decision is a tough one. On one side there is tradition of bursting crackers. I have seen it happening for last five decades. The ban may make many people that make crackers jobless. Many shopkeepers who have purchased fire crackers will lose money.
At the same time there is no doubt at this time of the year direction of air tends to change. Air is heavy due to chill in atmosphere. Wind does not blow strongly enough to wash away the smog. Smoke from burnt crackers tend to hang around close to ground. Smoke from burnt crackers hang over the city. One cannot see few feet ahead long after mid night. In addition to damaging human health, cracker burning is also cruel to animals. Many animals with sensitive ear drums feel pain due to loud noise. Many animals not used to loud noise become startled and afraid.
Many people who are susceptible to airway disease, on Diwali night and aftermath of Diwali night, their health problems aggravate. It is true that air pollution is a chronic issue. One must tackle all problems simultaneously and in a systematic manner to address the issue of air pollution. But on and around Diwali there is accumulation of concentrated pollutants in different localities. At least this issue can be controlled with minimal colateral damage.
Many say this decision of supreme court is interference with tradition. I think traditions change with time depending upon societal needs. Open defecation is also a tradition given since how long this act is being practiced. Government is trying to alter behavioral pattern on open defecation. The same is true for cracker burning. I think it is a good decision.