Numerous high-decibel booms thundered Monday during Diwali night as people in Delhi flouted the ban imposed by the city government.
Delhi’s environment minister, Gopal Rai, said last week that Diwali in the national capital is punishable by a jail term of up to six months and a fine of Rs 200.
Despite the legal deterrent, people in many parts of the city, including south and northwest Delhi, began to crack at dusk. High intensity fireworks could be heard on the ground or in the sky.
And as the night wore on, the intensity of the fireworks increased, exceeding allowable decibel limits, leaving some to question “if there was a ban at all.”
The explosion of fireworks on Diwali is a centuries-old tradition, but authorities in Delhi said the decision to restrict it was made after considering environmental and health risks associated with it.
Air quality in Delhi became “very bad” on Monday due to an increase in stubble burning, firecrackers and moderately adverse meteorological conditions that allowed the build-up of pollutants.
However, the 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 312 was still the second best for Diwali in seven years. The city registered an AQI of 281 on Diwali in 2018.
Experts feared earlier in the day that if the volume of fireworks rises again this year, air quality will decline further.
In the event that fireworks erupt like last year, the air quality on the night of Diwali itself could drop to “severe” levels and remain in the “red” zone for another day, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) had previously predicted.
Despite the ban, fireworks were set off with impunity in several places from about 6 p.m.
In the east of Kailash in South Delhi and neighboring towns such as Nehru Place and Moolchand, fireworks were heard in the evening. Some residents erupt in their neighborhood like every year.
Many residents also set off fireworks in Burari, despite the widespread dissemination of information about the ban.
“They have been trained but are still doing this, what will children learn from it,” said a resident of a colony in Burari.
The situation was similar in East Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar, Mayur Vihar and Shahdara. While the late night intensity was lower than last year, it increased after 9pm.
“It was like the slog-overs have started,” said a resident of Laxmi Nagar.
Loud thumps from crackers were also reported in the Munirka area of southwestern Delhi.
Bipasha Ghosh, 19, who came to the Kailash Hills area of South Delhi from Kolkata a few days ago, said: “In my area, it went on after 11pm. I wonder if there is a ban on making fireworks in Delhi. Also, those who do it are irresponsible and insensitive to the environment and to people with respiratory problems and other health problems”.
Many people complained of itchy skin and a burning sensation in their eyes from the smoke from popping fireworks.
“I’m not going out tomorrow, I know what the air quality will be tomorrow,” said Reetu Nandan, a college student living in South Delhi. Delhi Environment Minister Rai had previously said that the production, storage and sale of fireworks in the city will be punishable by a fine of up to Rs 5,000 and three years imprisonment under Section 9B of the Explosives Act.
A total of 408 teams were set up to implement the ban.
The Delhi Police put together 210 teams under Deputy Police Commissioners, while the Revenue Department set up 165 teams and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee set up 33 teams.
Many people also turned off fireworks in the neighboring towns of Gurugram and Faridabad.
Air quality in Ghaziabad (301), Noida (303), Greater Noida (270), Gurugram (325) and Faridabad (256) was reported as “poor to very bad” on Monday.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very bad”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)