Together For the Common Good - Eastern Mirror
Friday, June 09, 2023

Together For the Common Good

By The Editorial Team Updated: Nov 12, 2020 11:03 pm

With the festive season around the corner, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed a total ban on sale and use of firecrackers between November 10 and the 30th across the country, where poor or worse air quality were recorded during the month of November in 2019. However, it has allowed sale of “green crackers” and provided a two-hour window for bursting in places where air quality falls under ‘moderate’ or below category. This was not unexpected as festivals like Diwali, which is synonymous with bursting of firecrackers for many, are approaching. The tribunal has reasoned that the ban is necessary as pollution aggravates Covid-19 and has asked all state pollution control boards and committees to take special initiative to contain air pollution by regulating sources of pollution. A few state governments have responded positively to NGT’s directive, while some states have shown reluctance, revealing the political undertones to the common issue.

Close on the heels of NGT’s directive, the government of Nagaland announced a state-wide total ban on sale and use of firecrackers from November 10 till January 2021. “There is an increase in the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the state and winter season is fast approaching during which the elderly, children, persons with co-morbidities and others develop respiratory problems,” the order stated, adding that violators would be punished under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other relevant laws. This is a commendable swift move by the state government considering severe health implications that air pollution caused by bursting of firecrackers can have on the people, and more so because of the ongoing pandemic. Health experts have repeatedly warned that air pollution could aggravate the conditions of Covid patients and those with respiratory problems, as well as increase the transmission of infection and mortality rate.

Policymakers appear to be grappling with complicated choices of whether or not to ban firecrackers in their respective states, considering the implications their decision could have on the economy and health. The fireworks industry will incur huge losses in the event of states banning firecrackers this year and it will affect hundreds of families. The concerns on the fate of the industry are legitimate but it will be too costly to compromise the health of the citizens. With thousands of new Covid-19 cases in the country daily and fresh waves of infection looming large with the arrival of winter, it will be suicidal to allow air pollution to spike. Owing to this possible worsening of the health crisis, it is pertinent for State governments to take a strong stance on controlling air pollution in view of the pandemic as well as ecological and environmental concerns. In the meantime, citizens should learn to maintain restraint especially during crisis for their own good and others as well. If people do not listen to the government, flout orders and burst firecrackers, as was seen in Dimapur with many defying the city police’s order prohibiting its use in October last year, efforts of the government will be in vain and the implications on the society will be huge. The citizens should co-operate with the authorities and respect the law for common good.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Nov 12, 2020 11:03:07 pm