Delhi-NCR residents, activists anguished over violation of SC order on firecrackers

8 Nov 2018

A day after Diwali, there were searching questions and some anguish too as a hazy morning dawned over the Delhi-NCR region, with many residents voicing their helplessness at the violation of the Supreme Court's 8 pm-10 pm deadline of bursting firecrackers.
Delhi recorded its worst air quality of the year this morning, with the air quality index jumping to 574 that falls in the severe-plus emergency category -- meaning that even healthy people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on a prolonged exposure to such air. "Delhi is a gas chamber for TB patients like me. We are caught in a bind. If we escape TB, then we will die of pollution," Hasmukh Rai, a senior citizen of Mayur Vihar. "In this season, when everybody is talking of bringing ordinances on variety of issues, why can't politicians join hands and bring ordinance to ban stubble burning," he asked.
South Delhi resident Sagarika Sharma said she had lost her mother to lung cancer last year due to this hazardous pollution. "My mother was not a smoker or drinker, but yes, she was guilty of living in Delhi." Sharma wonders how people cannot understand the repercussions of bursting crackers. "I understand they want to celebrate, but at the cost of digging one’s own grave!" Even as the police launched a crackdown the violators and made multiple arrests, several people said, for them, Diwali meant bursting firecrackers. "Since childhood, we have been bursting crackers on Diwali. We do not understand green or red crackers. What we know is that it is a symbol of the festival for us and we will continue doing it," said Himanshu Bhalla, a Gurgaon resident.