An Indian vendor sells earthen lamps ahead of Diwali in Prayagraj on Friday. Rajesh Kumar Singh/ AP
For millions of Indians, Diwali, the festival of lights, is a time to spread cheer, friendship and togetherness. It is also a time when children in particular are extremely eager to welcome the celebrations, mainly due to the firecrackers. Till 2018, loud firecrackers were the norm, amid shrieks of delight from the young and old alike. However, last year, the government banned traditional firecrackers, citing environmental reasons, putting a dampener of sorts on the high spirits of the celebrants. Now, it plans low-emission firecrackers and light shows, but its uneven rollout has hurt some businesses and proven difficult to enforce.
The measures for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, on Sunday follow a 2018 Supreme Court ruling banning traditional firecrackers.
India’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research says “green” firecrackers produce 30% fewer emissions and don’t contain arsenic.
The New Delhi government will stage a four-day laser show starting Saturday to encourage residents to skip firecrackers altogether.
Urban policy researcher Rumi Aijaz says that one day’s efforts can impact air quality because they come at a critical period in the pollution season when farmers in northern India burn crop stubble to clear fields.
“May the light from the festivities around the world shine a blessing of love and hope on us all.”
The festival city also hosted a breathtaking display of fireworks to begin the celebrations.
Air pollution in some parts of the Indian capital deteriorated early on Monday to the worst recorded level, officials said, a day after revellers set off fireworks to mark Diwali in celebrations that were more subdued than in previous years.
British and European Union negotiators have the options in front of them to conclude a Brexit free-trade deal this week, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin was quoted as saying on Tuesday, expressing hope that they would succeed.
Dr Omar Al Hammadi, the official spokesperson for the UAE Government said, “The vaccine is currently given to our first line defenders because they are more vulnerable to infection than others, and to the elderly and people with chronic diseases."
The rally in the city of Multan was held a day after police, on orders from the government, carried out the arrests and banned the gathering, defending the move as necessary to combat the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan.