Rajasthan Bans Firecrackers Amid Covid Crisis. Looking at You, Delhi


Rajasthan Bans Firecrackers Amid Covid Crisis. Looking at You, Delhi

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Diwali arrives this year in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advised social distancing and being extra cautious during the festive season, the Rajasthan government has gone a step further. It has decided to ban the sale of firecrackers in the wake of the crisis created by the pandemic.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot took to Twitter to explain the rationale behind the move. He pointed out that the poisonous smoke emanating from firecrackers is a health hazard for Covid-19 patients as well as those suffering from heart ailments and breathing problems. “Instructions have been given to ban the temporary licence for the sale of firecrackers and that fireworks should also be stopped during wedding & other functions,” he tweeted.

Protecting the lives of people is paramount for the government in this challenging time, he said while reviewing the coronavirus situation in the state. This move comes as air pollution is on the rise in the northern states of India. Experts have already pointed out that rise in air pollution levels can heighten Covid-19 risk.

Medical Superintendent TB Hospital Dr AK Shrivastava stated, “Pollution level not only delays recovery of the COVID-19 but also enhances chances of contacting the coronavirus infection as the respiratory system gets weak. This is the reason, people having respiratory problems like asthma, and others should take precaution. They should always put the mask on their face for protection.”

Social media users hailed the move as an important and timely decision.

There are calls for other states to also implement similar measures keeping public health in mind.

One user on Twitter also pointed out that not only is it hazardous for the environment and personal health, but also unnecessary spending at a time when many don’t have food to eat or water to drink. That money could well be used to help someone out.

Indians understand the need to curb the pandemic.

Will Delhi follow suit, already suffering from the twin problem of the coronavirus pandemic and air pollution?

With the severe second wave in parts of Europe and America, and risk rising domestically due to air pollution in some of the Northern states, there is great merit in calls for a crackerless Diwali. Not only does the pollution pose challenges to people with ailments, but the gathering of people in parks and buildings is also far from desirable. Maybe it’s time once again for everyone to celebrate from their balconies, perhaps light a diya and cheer for our Covid warriors. The least we can do right now is not add to our woes.