Diwali: Ban use of all firecrackers, activist tells Maha govt

·2-min read

Mumbai, Nov 6 (PTI) A city activist has asked the Maharashtra government to ban all kinds of firecrackers with immediate effect, claiming these will be even more dangerous during the COVID-19 outbreak in view of the air pollution and negative effects they cause on respiratory health.

In a Facebook post addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, activist and founder of NGO Awaaz Foundation Sumaira Abdulali cited the 'extremely high' noise levels of firecrackers tested jointly with MPCB in 2019, which make them 'unsuitable' for use in residential areas.

Abdulali said her NGO tested commonly available firecrackers in a private laboratory and compared the chemical composition with entries listed in Schedule I 'List of Hazardous and Toxic Chemicals' of Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules 1989.

'This testing details chemical content where there is a significant proportion of the chemical present. When these chemicals are burnt, they form oxides, some of which are extremely toxic to human health, including sulphur trioxide, vanadium pentoxide, potassium oxides and copper oxides,' said Abdulali.

'All of these and their oxides are listed as toxic under the (hazardous chemicals) Rules. These harmful chemicals are released into the air and form components of air pollution experienced during periods such as Diwali,' she said, adding that green crackers were not available in the market.

With Maharashtra Pollution Control Board postponing its annual noise pollution testing this year until further notice, Abdulali pointed towards the results of last year which indicate 'extremely high levels' of noise pollution of most tested crackers, 'making them unsuitable for use in any residential area'.

Firecrackers independently present health problems, including elevated risk of respiratory disease, and they can compromise recovery of patients of other respiratory illness such as COVID-19, she noted.

Abdulali requested the government to consider the 'serious hazard' to human health indicated by the test result of hazardous chemicals contained in firecrackers.

'In these times of COVID-19, firecrackers are even more dangerous due to their contribution to air and noise pollution, and most particularly on respiratory health.

I request the Maharashtra government to ban the use of all firecrackers with immediate effect,' she demanded. PTI ENM BNM BNM