2 out of 5 families likely to burst firecrackers in Delhi-NCR this Diwali, says survey

The percentage of households bursting firecrackers in Delhi-NCR on Diwali could be the highest in five years as two out of every five families are likely to indulge in the activity, according to a survey.

Ten per cent of the respondents said they have already bought firecrackers from shops in Delhi, while 20 per cent said they have purchased firecrackers from other cities in the National Capital Region (NCR), indicating that the ban on the sale of such items is not as effective as it needs to be, according to the survey conducted by LocalCircles.

The survey received more than 10,000 responses from the residents of all the districts in Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad. Sixty-nine per cent of the respondents were men, while 31 per cent were women.

"Sixty-one per cent respondents said they will not be burning any crackers either because they are convinced that they cause pollution or because they are abiding by the ban. The survey results, when compared over time, indicate that the percentage of families burning crackers this year is likely to be the highest in the five-year period since 2018," it said.

"As against 32 per cent such families in 2018, the percentage grew in 2019 to 35, but fell post the second wave of Covid in 2021 to 32 but again, as the festive spirit has risen this year and there is no ban on crackers in the NCR cities of Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Noida, 39 per cent Delhi-NCR families are planning to burn crackers," the survey report added.

The Delhi government recently announced that manufacturing, storing or selling firecrackers in the city will be punishable with a three-year jail term and a fine of up to Rs 5,000 under Section 9B of the Explosives Act.

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Bursting firecrackers in the city on Diwali could attract a jail term of up to six months and a fine of Rs 200, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Wednesday.

In September, the city government re-imposed a complete ban on the production, sale and use of all types of firecrackers till January 1, including on Diwali, a practice it has been following for the last two years.

From October to December, the national capital chokes under a thick blanket of smog. The festive season, including Dussehra and Diwali, contributes to an uptick in pollution levels due to the burning of effigies and firecrackers.

The season also coincides with the time of stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, which further exacerbates the problem. The landlocked geography of Delhi and stable weather conditions with anti-cyclonic wind circulation keep the polluted air trapped in the city, shooting the Air Quality Index (AQI) upwards.

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on October 7 ordered the implementation of Stage 1 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) after Delhi's 24-hour average AQI was recorded at 211 (poor) at 4 pm on Dussehra.

(With PTI inputs)

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