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Because on an average day in Delhi/NCR PM2.5 pollution is between 150-400 micrograms per cubic metre. This means the ‘baseline’ or ‘everyday’ pollution in the NCR due to essential or routine economic activities, in and around Delhi, is 2 to 4 times above the danger mark. Transportation, factories, coal-fired power production, waste burning, unending construction work, slash and burn agriculture in neighbouring states, and local climate effects are the major reasons. This has been the case for the last 5-10 years. It is a problem because PM2.5 levels above 60-100 micrograms per cubic metre are considered unsafe by the WHO.
Such poor air quality is a contributor to chronic year-long complaints of cough, sniffling, irritability in the eyes, headaches, fatigue, asthma, bronchitis, and skin allergies. Common ailments in Delhi/NCR. These high levels of PM2.5, over longer periods, increase the risk of serious breathing disorders, developmental disorders in children, cardiovascular issues, and neurological problems. Shocking, but not unexpected, is the fact that 40 percent of children in the NCR have critically low lung function. Almost every day in Delhi is an attack on our health that we regretfully ignore.
If you really believe that you are completely wrong. Such levels of pollution are ‘anti-human’. Doctors don’t know if our bodies can cope with such pollution. According to Dr Arvind Kumar, one of India’s lead chest surgeons, in his 25 year experience, only patients that were smokers had black deposits on their lungs. In recent years, Dr Kumar has seen PM2.5 deposits aggregating on the lungs of nonsmokers, children, and even people that are active/healthy. And there is no mechanism to clean your lungs - these deposits are permanent. They decrease your lung capacity and eventually impacts your cardiovascular and neurological function.
This is not a judicial overreach. The court has not proactively walked into the situation. The ban is in response to a petition in the SC by children suffering from severe breathing problems from air pollution after Diwali 2015 and 2016. They asked the court to uphold their “right to breathe clean air” which is a part of the “right to life”. This raised the question - is the “right to life” more important than the “right to celebrate using firecrackers”.
The only thing attacking our religion is air pollution. Even before Diwali Delhi/NCR’s air quality is very poor. The problem lies in the sheer scale of our cities. Today, we have 46 million people in the NCR. This is nearly double the population of the whole country of Australia. If each person in the NCR bursts one snake bomb (equal to 464 cigarettes) that alone will produce the smoke of 200 billion cigarettes in one minute! Even one firecracker per person can make Delhi a gas chamber.
A quick scan of twitter, and TV interviews will show that the people urging Delhi-ites to burst more crackers live outside Delhi/NCR. Delhi, these people are not with us. They don’t understand the grave crisis you and I are facing in Delhi/NCR (and most of North India). They live in cities close to the sea or with better air quality or in houses with air purifiers. They can afford holidays and treatment. They don’t care about our children, the sick, or the millions of urban poor in Delhi. And don’t forget we have an equal number of people, including our cricket team, urging for a Diwali without smoke.
This isn’t relevant. Your quality of life and lives of children are facing an immediate threat from air pollution. While many would support a vegetarian diet simply for health and environmental reasons, these traditions from other religions, are not putting your life at risk. Smoke from firecrackers is putting you at risk. And if you feel strongly about animals rights then we encourage and urge you to do something about it. Strength to you.
The SC first banned firecrackers on 25 Nov 2016. That was nearly a year ago! And even though the problem was visible last year, the SC still requested the Central Pollution Control Board to submit a report quantifying the impact. However, the CPCB, surprisingly, refused to do this over 7 months. Firecracker manufacturers had one year to plan for contingencies. However, they spent most of this time lobbying to overturn the ban. And they were successful on 13 Sep 2017. However, the petitioners pointed out that air quality in NCR was already very poor before Diwali and any increase would impact children significantly. Hence, the ban was reinstated. There is no doubt that the SC could have certainly shown more consistency, however, their decision is not unfounded.