- DMs and police have been given the duty to implement the firecrackers ban
- Sikkim has been banning firecrackers since 20014
- Most people in the state adhere to the ban responsibly: DIGP, Sikkim
New Delhi: Sikkim has become the first state in Northeast India to order a blanket ban on the sale and use of any type of firecracker in the state during this festive season. SC Gupta, Chief Secretary, Sikkim Government issued an order on Wednesday (November 4) under the Disaster Management Act 2005 to completely ban selling and bursting firecrackers until further notice. According to Mr. Gupta, the step has been taken in order to safeguard the health of COVID-19 patients and those who have recovered from the infection from the adverse impacts of air pollution generated from firecrackers. Various studies conducted worldwide have linked a rise in COVID-19 cases to the increase in air pollution.
Also Read: Increasing Pollution Levels May Lead To Increased COVID-19 Cases: Experts
Government of #Sikkim orders complete ban on bursting of firecrackers. @GolayPs @PIBHomeAffairs @PIB_India @PMOIndia @PrakashJavdekar @MoHFW_INDIA @airnewsalerts @DDNewslive @IndraHangSubba1 @PTI_News @ndtv @ZeeNews @TimesNow @htTweets @timesofindia @ttindia @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/bkZrJwO6fN
— sikkimgovtipr (@sikkimgovt) November 4, 2020
Recently, a study published by Harvard University highlighted that even a small increase in long term exposure to Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, which refers to tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two-and one-half microns or less in width, can lead to large increase in COVID-19 related death rate. The study showed that an increase of only one microgram per cubic metre in PM 2.5 is associated with an 8 per cent increase in the COVID-19 death rate. While announcing the order, Mr. Gupta said,
A significant number of COVID-19 patients have recovered. But the increase in air pollution on burning crackers may prove hazardous for the recovered as well as active COVID-19 patients.
The Superintendents of Police and District Magistrates have been given the responsibility of taking necessary actions to ensure the compliance of the ban order. While talking to NDTV about the implementation of the ban, Pravin Gurung, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) and Spokesperson of the Sikkim Police said,
The sale and use of firecrackers have been banned and the entire state has to follow it. For restricting the sale, we have already sealed the state borders to ban any entry of firecrackers in the state. The good thing is there is not even a single firecracker manufacturing unit in Sikkim. Whatever crackers come in the state, come from Siliguri. So, in this way, we will be ensuring that no crackers reach Sikkim markets. We are also trying our best to check any illegal sale of firecrackers. For restricting the burning of crackers, we have already started raising awareness through the media among the citizens about the ban. The people in Sikkim are already familiar with the firecracker ban rules because the state has been imposing this ban every year since 2014. So, it is not going to be difficult for us to implement the ban in the state. Ours is a small state with less population and people here obey and are very cooperative.
Mr. Gurung further said that the younger generation in the state is quite aware and sensitised towards environmental issues and already prefer to not burst crackers. He added that this year, the order says that the ban will be imposed until further notice and so it can be expected that firecrackers will not be allowed even after Diwali till at least Christmas and New Year Eve.
Acknowledging the step taken by the state government, Sonam Lepcha, a 21-year-old resident of Gangtok said,
In Sikkim, even though the urban population mostly adheres to the firecracker ban, some people in rural areas do not comply with the ban. But it is good that the government has banned the entry of crackers itself in the state. I don’t like to burst crackers anyway and with this ban, others will also become aware of its ill-effect on the health of the people and that of the environment.
Also Read: Study Estimates Exposure To Air Pollution Increases COVID-19 Deaths By 15 Per Cent Worldwide
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.