NEW DELHI, India: New Delhi has reinstated a firecracker ban in preparation for the Diwali festival to combat air pollution during winter when air quality becomes dangerously low, according to the city's Environment Minister, Gopal Rai.
"Manufacturing, storage, sale, online delivery and bursting of any type of firecrackers is completely prohibited in Delhi," Minister Gopal Rai said at a press conference, adding that police have been instructed to stop issuing licenses for fireworks.
The tradition of setting off firecrackers is deeply rooted in the Hindu festival of Diwali, which falls in mid-November this year. However, the smoke from the numerous firecrackers contributes to a toxic haze enveloping the city. This situation worsens during winter when colder air traps pollutants, including dust, vehicle emissions, and smoke from agricultural stubble burning in neighboring regions.
The Delhi government plans to collaborate with experts this week to formulate a comprehensive action plan for combating winter pollution. During this period, the city experiences a surge in respiratory illnesses, leading to school closures and public health emergencies. In recent years, authorities have repeatedly banned the sale and use of fireworks ahead of Diwali, threatening offenders with fines and imprisonment.