Union minister Anil Madhav Dave said that banning firecrackers during Diwali is not the solution to Delhi’s pollution. “What about the remaining 364 days? India is a democratic country. People have the freedom to do what they want to. A ban on firecrackers won’t serve any purpose. We will not advocate it,” said Dave to THE WEEK.
The National Green Tribunal pulled up the Delhi government and the Centre for inaction, after Delhi was immersed in a thick cover of pollutant-filled smog for a few days after Diwali on October 31, with residents being forced to inhale dangerous air. Fog and haze led to many road accidents in and around Delhi.
Said Dave, “It is a very serious issue. I will hold a meeting with ministers of concerned states and stakeholders. We should figure out what are the short- and long-term plans to tackle pollution in Delhi. It is important to diagnose the problem, rather than blame one another.”
Dave said that the top contributors of pollution in Delhi were road dust, vehicles and industry. “The Union government will take appropriate action. We will issue an advisory in this regard and tell the states to implement it,” said Dave.
A recent report of the World Health Organization labelled Delhi as the 11th most polluted city in the world, out of 3,000 cities in 103 countries. Half of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, this year, are in India. In 2014, according to WHO, Delhi was the most polluted city in the world.