With Diwali around the corner, concerns have been raised on the poor air quality and its threat to those suffering from COVID-19. While a few states have banned the sale of crackers, the Andhra Pradesh government, on Tuesday, said that only green crackers will be allowed to be sold and used in the state this Diwali. The timings for bursting crackers in Andhra Pradesh have also been restricted to two hours on Diwali, from 8 PM to 10 PM.
The decision has been taken in wake of the recent order from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which mentioned that the pollution caused due to crackers could aggravate risk to lives and health amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Tribunal, on Monday, banned the sale and use of firecrackers in the NCR region. It also imposed similar bans in regions where the air quality has been “poor”. The sale of green crackers has been permitted in only those cities and towns where the air quality is “moderate”. In other areas with better air quality, the move to ban cracker sales has been made optional. The NGT has further directed states to take measures to contain air pollution from all sources, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Made using less harmful substances, green crackers produce lesser emissions.
It may be noted that a few states including Odisha, Sikkim, West Bengal, Delhi, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra have already banned bursting of crackers this Diwali. While Karnataka has also granted permission to the sale of green crackers, Tamil Nadu has imposed restrictions on the timings for bursting crackers.
On Tuesday, Andhra Pradesh reported 1886 fresh COVID-19 cases as the total number of cases rose to 8,46,245. So far, the state has recorded 8,18,473 recoveries and 6,814 deaths. As of 10 November, the active cases stood at 20,958. The state has conducted 87,92,935 tests until Wednesday.