Ahead of Diwali, 64% of Delhi residents say they won't burst crackers to celebrate, 15% unsure on how to combat pollution, finds NGO study
In keeping with the ban on using regular firecrackers in the National Capital Region, 64 percent of the people in the city prepare to celebrate Diwali without bursting any, a survey conducted by a non-governmental organisation Local Circles found.
Though the survey report is a pat on the back of the people of Delhi for their willingness to comply with environmental laws, the study also reveals an unpreparedness to tackle the menace of air pollution which is taking the city in its grip.
The survey received more than 65,000 responses from around 36,000 citizens living in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad.
When asked in the survey about what they plan to do on Diwali, 64 percent said they will not be bursting any crackers. Interestingly, 10 percent of the respondents said they will be burning regular crackers, seven percent said they will be burning green crackers and 18 percent said they will only burn sparklers.
Though there is a ban on the bursting of regular firecrackers, the use of green version of sparklers and flowerpot is allowed. Despite this ban, a teeming black market of the banned firecrackers catering to the local demand is operative in Delhi.
The survey also brings to the fore the helplessness of Delhi residents in the face of massive pollution that engulfs the city during the winter season. When asked how they are coping with the rising air pollution levels, 13 percent of the respondents said that they have or plan to have an air purifier at home while 12 percent said they wear or plan to wear masks. On the other hand, 17 percent said they have or plan to have both an air purifier or mask.
A whopping 43 percent of the respondents in Delhi said they don’t have either a mask or an air purifier and don’t plan to get one, while 15 percent were unsure about what they will do to combat pollution.
The survey also suggests that a big chunk of the capital city’s population views stubble burning as a major contributor to the Delhi air pollution woes during the period between October and December every year. In the study, 42 percent said the pollution is caused by the stubble burning by farmers in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, while 13 percent said it is caused by the garbage burning in the city.
Merely four percent of the respondents believed that burning of crackers during Dussehra and Diwali causes pollution. Meanwhile, the share of respondent that attributed the cause of air pollution to vehicular emissions, industrial emissions, construction activities and road dust were 15 percent, 2 percent,7 percent and 17 percent respectively.
The Graded Response Action Plan, a rule which is followed in Delhi when air quality takes a dip, mandates ban on use of diesel generators. The ban received the approval of 52 percent respondents of this survey. Although a majority of the respondents supported the ban on diesel generators, there is still dissent as citizens want the government to resolve the uncertain electricity situation before placing a ban on diesel generators, suggests the study.
Even though citizens appreciated the proactive measured taken by the Delhi government this year to control pollution levels in the city, all the stated exemptions in the odd-even program left them perplexed. Only 21 percent of the citizens support the Delhi government's odd even drive to contain pollution whereas 74 percent did not approve of it.
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