Citizens and environmentalists on Monday lauded Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) decision of putting a ban on bursting firecrackers this year. Mumbaikars called the decision “sensible” and “smart” considering the pandemic and the harmful effects crackers have on the air pollution. The toxic air can become deadly for everybody, especially senior citizens.
"This is a smart decision as crackers adversely affect air quality and cause severe harm to the environment. Diwali is a festival of lights and not sounds. I am hopeful this year's decision could be used as an example in the future," said environmentalist Zoru Bhathena.
Amrita Bhattacharjee, another green warrior said that every year after Diwali, senior citizens and asthmatic patients report a lot of health issues. “The pandemic has compelled the administration to take this sensible decision, checks on bursting firecrackers should also be put henceforth," she said.
Earlier on November 5, the Free Press Journal had reported that several housing societies and gated communities had stated to ban firecrackers within their premises as there are senior citizens and COVID19 patients who are in home quarantine. “We were sure that people would burst crackers on the adjacent road which would create air and noise pollution. After today's decision, we feel really safe," said Shyamal Choksi, a Worli resident and president of his residents’ association.
"We issued a notice regarding banning of fire crackers this year but some residents were adamant. Now, after the BMC ban, I am sure everyone will follow suit," said Mario D'Mello, a Napean Sea road resident.
Residents of Marine Drive and Cuffe Parade stated that every year there would be people coming from different parts of the city and would burst crackers at Marine Drive promenade. This would turn the air toxic and would cause sheer inconvenience to senior citizens living in the building across the promenade.
"We welcome BMC's decision of banning crackers. We would also urge the administration to be extra cautious on Diwali so that people don't come and light up sparklers (phool jhadis) at the promenade,” said Ashok Gupta, vice-president Marine Drive Residents Association.
The BMC on Monday had exempted crackers like Phooljadi and 'Anars' from banning. However, citizens mentioned that a blanket ban would have been better.
“Smokes are emitted from these crackers as well. There should have been a blanket ban. We all know that people will still burn crackers. In Mumbai plastic is also banned, yet we see people using it daily,” rued city-based advocate and social activist Sameer Nikam.