The Odisha government on Tuesday banned the sale and use of firecrackers statewide during the holiday season to check for air pollution that can worsen the health conditions of patients with COVID-19.
The blackout period runs from November 10 to 30, according to a government order.
Residents of the state detonated firecrackers on the occasion of Deepavali and Kartik Purnima, which fell on November 14 and 30, respectively, this year.
Chief Secretary AK Tripathy issued an instruction banning the sale and use of firecrackers in all parts of the state from November 10 to 30.
“Anyone found in violation of this order will be punished under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act 2005 and other relevant laws,” the order said.
“Given the potentially harmful consequences of burning crackers amid the COVID-l9 pandemic situation and approaching winter, the Odisha government therefore bans the sale and use of crackers from 10 to November 30, 2020 in the public interest, ”the chief secretary told me.
Deepavali is the festival of lights and it can be celebrated in a traditional way by lighting earthen lamps, candles and other traditional lighting materials.
Stating that the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has been controlled to a large extent in Odisha, the order said the people as a whole support the government in controlling the situation.
Although the number of active cases has shown a decline in the state, the danger is still very present, Mr. Tripathy said, adding that COVID-19 has resurfaced in parts of the country and around the world, forcing them to re-impose lockdowns and other extreme measures to contain the situation and continue the spread of the disease.
Mr. Tripathy also stressed that international experience shows that the coming winter season could see the pandemic spread further. It is generally observed that the elderly, children, people with co-morbidities and others develop respiratory problems during the winter, he said.
Apart from air pollution, a higher concentration of airborne particles (SPM) in the air worsens respiratory problems.
“It is a well-known fact that the burning of fire crackers releases large amounts of harmful chemicals like nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, which have a severe impact on the respiratory health of people. vulnerable groups, ”he said.
These pollutants can further worsen the health conditions of people living with COVID-19 in addition to those isolated at home, he said.
The chief secretary also instructed local administrations and the police to take action to implement the order.