India Today - - UPFRONT -

The Supreme Court has or­dered that the burst­ing of fire­crack­ers dur­ing Di­wali be re­stricted in the na­tional cap­i­tal to ‘des­ig­nated ar­eas’ and only be­tween 8 and 10 p.m. The air over Delhi is, of course, a threat to its cit­i­zens, a chok­ing haz­ard. Di­wali ex­ac­er­bates an al­ready deadly sit­u­a­tion. But Di­wali crack­ers are a dis­trac­tion, en­abling the whin­ers who see the SC’s com­mon sense as an as­sault on their free­doms. The causes of pol­lu­tion in Delhi are a nasty cock­tail of street dust, ve­hic­u­lar pol­lu­tion, smoke from cook­ing fires, in­dus­try, and, ar­guably above all, crop burn­ing (seen in pic) in neigh­bour­ing states. A re­cent Har­vard Uni­ver­sity study sug­gested that as much as half of Delhi’s air pol­lu­tion, par­tic­u­larly in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber, is the re­sult of crop burn­ing. It’s an un­fail­ing sea­sonal calamity and yet there are no so­lu­tions, none that don’t leave farm­ers out of pocket.

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