India Supreme Court bans fireworks in Delhi
India’s supreme court has banned the sale of fireworks in Delhi during the upcoming Diwali festival, hoping to prevent the usual spike in toxic air pollution levels that accompany the holiday.
Last year’s Hindu festival of lights, in which tens of thousands of firecrackers are burst in Delhi over several days, left the city sheeted in toxic smog that forced the closure of schools, power stations and construction sites.
The increase in airborne pollution to levels up to 29 times higher than World Health Organisation standards led the supreme court in November to ban the sale of fireworks in the Indian capital.
The court said it wanted to test if banning fireworks would make a difference to Delhi’s air quality, ranked among the worst in the world.
The ban on the sale and distribution of firecrackers will last until 1 November. Diwali falls on 18 October.
The Supreme Court order came in response to several petitions, asking for a restoration of the ban it had first ordered in November 2016, before temporarily lifting it in September.
- Diwali in Delhi: A colourful night turns smoggy grey
- Polluted Delhi has ‘become a gas chamber’
Those who have already bought fireworks will be able to set them off.