Don’t convert Diwali into a ‘festival of smoke’: Kejriwal

New Delhi :The “acute problem” of air pollution which the city is struggling with may assume “dangerous proportions” during Diwali, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today urging people not to convert the festival of lights into a “festival of smoke”.

In a pre-Diwali message released through newspaper advertisements, Kejriwal advised people against bursting of fireworks and crackers.

“On this occasion of happiness, I want to make an appeal. Our Delhi is struggling with an acute problem of air pollution, which assumes dangerous proportions on Diwali due to bursting of fireworks and crackers,” Kejriwal said.
Noting the possible adverse effects of smoke emanating from firecrackers on children and the elderly, the Chief Minister appealed to people to keep these issues in mind and refrain from setting of crackers.

“Let us not convert the festival of lights into festival of smokes,” he said.

Days ahead of Diwali, the capital’s air quality today hit a new low with particulate matters and the level of Benzene going several times higher than the permissible limits.

Officials from the System of Air Quality and weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) centre also observed that bursting of firecrackers during Diwali will shoot up the level of pollution.

Fireworks display during the festive celebrations can cause acute air pollution, raising the concentration of suspended particulate matter and the quantity of Sulphur dioxide and Nitrogen dioxide, which have the potential to cause asthma, bronchitis, chronic respiratory symptoms and premature deaths.

Yesterday, Environment Minister Imran Hussain wrote to the members of the Delhi Assembly urging them to raise awareness against bursting crackers among the public.