Crackers seem to be fast losing their sheen among people living in Delhi-NCR as they are willing to do away with bursting of the same for the sake of clean air.
Over 79% of the respondents of a survey conducted among 20,000 residents of Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad do not want to burst crackers.
LocalCircles spoke to residents of the five cities and found that only about 20% of them want no ban on fire crackers, while 32% respondents support sale of green crackers.
Over 75% residents of Delhi-NCR say guidelines of the Supreme Court-mandated Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) are not being effectively followed in their area and city.
In 2016, the Supreme Court had issued an order to tackle air pollution that is being implemented across Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad.
The plan or GRAP involves agencies – municipal corporations, traffic police, pollution control committee, transport department, police department, metro corporations, public works department, power plants – to undertake certain measures in their authority to control the amount of pollution released in the city’s air.
It is a set of guidelines for state agencies to follow when the air quality index moves from ‘moderate to poor’, ‘very poor’, ‘severe’ and ‘severe+’ categories.
The respondents were asked if agencies were making an attempt to stop dust pollution at construction and demolition sites and ready mix cement (RMC) plants, burning of garbage in landfills and other places, sweeping periodically in a mechanised way and sprinkling water on traffic roads, and ban usage of diesel generators. Close to 80% replied in the negative.
When it comes to firecrackers, the respondents of Gurugram seemed to be most keen on the ban. Individual data of these five cities suggests that 64% of 1,247 citizens in Gurugram, 51% of 5,062 citizens in Delhi, 50% of 984 in Faridabad, 25% of 1,416 in Noida, and 22% of 1,496 in Ghaziabad voted for “complete ban on sale of firecrackers”.
Regarding “ban on sale of regular crackers or only green crackers may be permitted to sell,” 62% of respondents in Noida voted for the same, while the figures were 26% of respondents in Delhi, 27% in Gurugram, 20% in Faridabad, and 36% in Ghaziabad.
Air quality in these five cities has already started to hover at severe levels. About 67% of 1,496 respondents in Ghaziabad said “none of the four (aforementioned GRAP measures) are being followed in their areas. Similarly, 40% of 1,010 citizens in Faridabad, 37% of 1,353 in Gurugram, 33% of 1,362 in Noida and 29% of 5,205 in Delhi echoed on similar lines. On the contrary, 22%, 25%, 25%, 20% and 22% citizens in Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, respectively, said “all of these (GRAP measures) are being followed” in their respective areas.
The second question in the survey tried to understand the general perception of people in these five cities on their willingness to avoid firecrackers during festival celebration by the NGT and the government implementing a ban on sale of firecrackers. On a question “given that many areas of Delhi-NCR are already in hazardous air quality category or beyond, what should be done with sale of crackers”, more than half of the respondents in Gurugram, Delhi and Faridabad voted for a “complete ban on sale of all crackers this festive season”.