Sachchida N Tripathi of the civil engineering department at IIT Kanpur and a member of the steering committee, National Clean Air Programme, said, “The bursting of firecrackers causes a spike in the metal concentration in the air though it vanishes very fast and does not remain in the air for more than two days.”
He felt a ban could only be enforced only if people become a part of the act.
Anju Goel, fellow, earth science and climate change, at The Energy and Resources Institute, pointed out though there was a ban on firecrackers, the items were easily available in the market at affordable prices. “To ensure that crackers are not burst, the source and the availability of crackers must be eliminated,” she said. “Besides, residents’ welfare associations or some people should be given the responsibility of ensuring the proper enforcement of the ban in their respective localities.”
Also advocating behavioural change was Aarti Khosla, director, Climate Trends. She noted that the prohibition came into effect much before Diwali this year, but people were able to procure them from nearby states. “We have to make people aware that firecrackers are not good for their health,” said Khosla. “The violators should be penalised and people who make unscientific and ill-informed statements that crackers do not contribute to pollution have to be called out.”
A ban can be successful only if the citizens participate in it, remarked professor Sagnik Dey, coordinator, Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air, IIT Delhi. “The focus must be on strengthening the message on why fireworks are banned,” he said. “We have to constantly run awareness campaigns till people become superconscious about air pollution.”
At the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, Tanushree Ganguly, programme lead, said, “Accountability should be fixed both at the top and the bottom ranks. Eventually, the onus is on us, the residents of Delhi. We need to realise that our city is particularly vulnerable to high pollution, given its geography and the adverse impact of meteorology on its air quality. We must refrain from indulging in activities that worsen the capital’s air quality and put the wellbeing of our families and neighbours at risk.”
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