Firecrackers Banned In Delhi, Says Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Air pollution, which can aggravate the health condition of COVID-19 patients, has been on the rise in Delhi due to festivals and stubble burning in neighbouring states.

Firecrackers have been banned in Delhi, West Bengal and Rajasthan (Representational)

New Delhi:

Firecrackers will be banned in Delhi in view of the persistently high pollution and smog levels that experts believe put more people at risk from the coronavirus, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced today on Twitter.

Mr Kejriwal said after reviewing the pandemic situation in Delhi it was found there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases after festivals, such as the recently concluded Durga Puja and Dussehra, and due to air pollution.

Air pollution, which can aggravate the health condition of COVID-19 patients, has been on the rise in Delhi due to festivals and stubble burning in neighbouring states.

West Bengal too, earlier today, banned the burning of firecrackers in the state on Diwali and Kali Puja. Delhi and Bengal join Sikkim, Rajasthan and Odisha who also banned firecrackers to combat rising coronavirus cases.

In view of this, the Chief Minister tweeted, the Delhi government has taken several steps to counter the rising cases.

After from banning firecrackers, medical infrastructure will be ramped up, oxygen and ICU beds will also be increased in Delhi government hospitals, he added. Mr Kejriwal also added there will be targetted testing and steps will be taken to ensure the fatality rate does not increase.

He said an appeal had been filed in the Supreme Court to lift the Delhi High Court's stay on increasing ICU beds in private hospitals.

Delhi's air pollution has plummeted to severe levels and suffered its most toxic day in a year today. Coronavirus cases have also been raging in the capital with over 4,00,000 infections. The toxic air has heightened the alarm over the health hazard posed by the choking smog, with doctors warning of a sharp increase in respiratory illnesses.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday said that he has issued directions to ban the sale of firecrackers and restrict their use to protect COVID-19 patients and the public from their ill-effects. 

Bengal had also appealed to its residents to not burn firecrackers. The Calcutta High Court later banned the use of firecrackers in the upcoming festivals.