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68% of Delhi-NCR residents won’t burn crackers this Diwali to help keep pollution in check

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Online survey among 75,000 residents of Delhi-NCR shows a growing citizen movement against firecrackers as Delhi’s air is in the red again.

New Delhi: A majority of Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) residents have made up their mind against bursting crackers, a survey has found.

As many as 68 per cent of 75,000 respondents to a survey on LocalCircles, a social networking site for civic cooperation, said they “will not be burning crackers to make sure that the level of pollution stays in control and the city does not become a gas chamber”.

The response signals a significant shift for Delhi-NCR, where the aftermath of Diwali has been marked by choking smog over the last few years, with stubble burning among the other factors exacerbating the region’s pollution levels.

The Supreme Court too has cracked down on firecrackers, allowing the use of ‘less polluting firecrackers’ between 8 and 10 pm on Diwali.

Also read: 2-hour window to burst crackers a welcome step, will help change people’s mindset, say doctors

Very poor’ air quality

Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) recently shot up to 337, which falls in the ‘very poor’ category. This is a health hazard that may cause breathing difficulties, allergies, cough and cold.

The survey also found that almost 91 per cent of the respondents wanted the civic agencies to ensure zero garbage/waste burning to help stem pollution during winter months.

As many as 76 per cent voted in favour of a ban on the entry of heavy diesel-run commercial vehicles, with 19 per cent against any such move. The remaining five per cent were unsure.

Nearly 44 per cent of the respondents voted for a stay on construction during winter months. Authorities say such a move can only follow if pollution in the city crosses a certain limit.

Several initiatives are being undertaken in Delhi-NCR to ease the pollution that envelops the national capital region as the temperatures begin to dip.

Earlier this month, the National Green Tribunal fined the Delhi government Rs 50 crore for failing to shut down polluting industries, such as steel pickling units, in residential areas.

Also readDelhi’s pollution crisis needs a political solution, not the Supreme Court

Delhi’s Environment Minister Imran Hussain called a meeting Tuesday to ensure that the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), mandated by the Supreme Court to tackle Delhi’s pollution problem, is being implemented properly.

Meanwhile, the Public Works Department and the Delhi Fire Services have been ordered to spray water from tall buildings after Diwali to settle the dust particles and pollutants suspended in the air.

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