The cloud of confusion of whether to buy firecrackers or not continues to hover over Mumbaikars. With pandemic related health concerns and not so specific guidelines from the authorities, people are yet to decide whether to celebrate this Diwali with firecrackers or not.
With many states already banning the bursting and selling of firecrackers completely and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announcing to penalise bursting of firecrackers on public places, Mumbaikar's are in confused state what to do this year.
Ameya, an 11-year-old boy and a resident of Borivali, is asking his father to buy firecrackers. However his father has no idea whether bursting firecrackers will invite any penal action against him due to the prevailing pandemic situation. Local firecrackers shop owners may be claiming that it is allowed and nothing is banned as of now. But the people are still reluctant to buy the firecrackers.
"So far we could have done little business as people are not turning up at stores. We were expecting our sales to be below average as everyone has his own financial problems due to the pandemic situation. However, those who have interest and money are also hesitant to buy firecrackers due to the lack of clarity," said a firecracker dealer from Mohammad Ali Road.
Bursting of firecrackers releases a lot of smoke and other pollutants into the air and it can stay in the atmosphere for long in the winter air. The pollution could have an adverse effect on lungs and health of the COVID-19 patients and also increase the risk of infection among senior citizens and children.
Recently, the BMC has announced that it will ban the bursting and lighting of all firecrackers at public places during Diwali. The state government has also appealed to citizens to refrain from bursting firecrackers this year as the resultant pollution could have an adverse impact on COVID19 patients. Considering the grim COVID-19 situation in many parts of Maharashtra and apprehension of a second wave of infection, the state is also likely to impose a similar ban on firecrackers.
Keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation, many states have already banned the firecrackers that include West Bengal, Delhi and Chandigarh. Amidst the double whammy of the pandemic and pollution crisis, the National Green Tribunal is also expected to deliver its verdict on the imposition of ban on firecrackers across the country in coming days.