Karnataka has joined a growing list of states that have banned firecrackers amid the coronavirus pandemic just days before Diwali. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said they decided to ban firecrackers in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
Poor air quality can have a big impact on health as the COVID-19 virus often impairs the functioning of the lungs. Experts widely believe that poor air quality puts those with co-morbidities at a higher risk. The virus is known to affect the respiratory system.
“We discussed this and are taking the decision to ban fireworks this Deepavali. It has been discussed and an order is being issued. This is because of COVID-19,” Mr Yediyurappa told reporters today.
The BJP-ruled state in the south banned firecrackers less than a week after Odisha, Delhi and Rajasthan, too, banned them, citing concerns over air quality in winter and the coronavirus pandemic as well. Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar had said on Thursday firecrackers can hurt people who are infected with coronavirus, and asked residents to avoid bursting them this Diwali.
Karnataka reported over 3,100 coronavirus cases and 31 deaths on Thursday, taking the total infections to over 8.38 lakh. Haryana has partially banned firecrackers – it has made possession and sale of imported fireworks illegal.
Maharashtra has asked people to avoid bursting firecrackers this Diwali, though it has not banned them. It requested people to think of those who have tested positive for coronavirus as they could face complications due to air pollution. “…Instead, they can light lamps on a big scale and celebrate the festival,” the Maharashtra Home Department said in a statement on Thursday.
Eighteen states and Union Territories have been asked to respond on the issue of firecracker-caused pollution. The National Green Tribunal or NGT has said it is considering a wider order prohibiting the use of firecrackers to protect the health of the vulnerable groups.