The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a total ban on firecrackers in NCR as poor air quality continues to be worrisome. The ban which starts from midnight of November 9 ends midnight of November 30.
Last week, the NGT had reserved its order, till November 9, on the imposition of ban on fire crackers across 23 states and union territories amidst the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and air pollution crisis. The NGT had sought feedback from the Environment Ministry, the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Central Pollution Control Board, the Delhi Police Commissioner and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee on banning firecrackers from November 7 to 30. Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister, had banned firecrackers, two weeks before Diwali, in the capital. He had also banned new manufacturing units in the city’s industrial areas.
As such the Indian Medical Association (IMA) advised people not to venture outdoors early morning because this is when pollution levels are its highest. The IMA also said that elderly people and children are believed at greater risk of COVID-19, and more likely to develop infections and allergies. “Patients who are sensitive to respiratory diseases may find it difficult to breathe if air quality levels (AQI) is between 50 and 100. An AQI of 300 makes it difficult even those who are otherwise healthy,” Dr Rajan Sharma, the president of the medical body said. Besides, medical experts have also warned that unless air quality levels in Delhi and other major cities and regions of the country are brought under control, the COVID-19 virus is very much likely to spread further.
Research shows a positive correlation between the spread of the virus and air pollution. COVID-19 could have an air transmission and atmospheric particulate matter (PM) could create a suitable environment for transporting the virus at greater distances than those considered for close contact. PM induces inflammation in lung cells and exposure to PM could increase the susceptibility and severity of the COVID-19 patient symptoms.