Friday, February 26, 2021

Dawn after Deepavali, Indians awake to choking smog in northern cities

After the festival angry residents complained on social media of breathing difficulties and stinging eyes.

Other News

Tidak perlu surat polis rentas negeri hantar anak ke asrama

Ibu bapa hanya perlu menunjukkan surat yang dikeluarkan pihak sekolah semasa melalui sekatan jalan raya.

No police permit needed to cross borders for school

Parents only need to show letters issued by the schools at police roadblocks.

Kes baru Covid-19 jatuh bawah 2,000

12 lagi kematian dicatatkan.

New cases drop below 2,000 mark

12 more deaths reported.

MIC leader questions ‘fickle-minded’ Umno chiefs

MIC deputy president M Saravanan says the party will only decide based on discussions in Barisan Nasional.

Millions of Indians ignored bans on setting off firecrackers to celebrate Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights, meaning that hundreds of millions across north India woke up on Sunday to toxic air blanketing their homes and towns.

The capital New Delhi was covered in a thick haze, with the average pollution level over nine times that considered safe by the World Health Organization, reports Reuters.

Also sitting under choking haze were cities in the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar, all of which typically suffer appallingly unhealthy air quality at this time of year.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had banned the sale and use of firecrackers ahead of the festival but the policy proved impossible to implement and city skies blazed throughout the night.

Angry residents complained on social media of breathing difficulties and stinging eyes.

“Our gods must be so happy today, that their followers burst firecrackers and choked the young ones to despair and death,” said Vimlendu Jha, of environmental group Swechha.

Some defended firecrackers as an essential part of the celebration.

“Are you realizing how all of India stood up in defiance against the cracker ban? It’s like a form of Hindu freedom battle cry,” Tarun Vijay, a leader of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, tweeted.

Northern India’s air pollution usually worsens in October and November due to windless days and farmers burning agricultural waste.

India’s raging coronavirus epidemic, with more than 400,000 cases in New Delhi alone, has also heightened alarm over the smog. Doctors are warning of a sharp increase in respiratory illnesses in the weeks to come.

It is a far cry from the months during lockdown when the air was so clear that the Taj Mahal became visible from kilometres away. However, as soon as the lockdown ended, the poisonous smog tentacles came drifting back almost immediately as air quality returned to normal and the Taj Mahal disappeared once more.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

India blocks internet near Delhi as protesting farmers start hunger strike

Indian authorities often block local internet services when they believe there will be unrest.

Deepavali, community and Amma Asha Devi

Discrimination tarnishes the chance for many to celebrate anything.

Agong, Permaisuri ucap selamat menyambut Deepavali

Ucapan tersebut disampaikan menerusi satu hantaran di akaun Facebook Istana Negara.

Deepavali in a scrap yard

G Bootheswaran works at a scrap company in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur. This year marks his eighth Deepavali celebration away from his family in Chennai, India, as the Covid-19 pandemic increases his workload and keeps country borders closed.

Jangan lupa SOP ketika sambut Deepavali, pesan PM

Meskipun negara masih bergelut dengan pandemik Covid-19 Deepavali tetap disambut dengan meriah esok.