“But if your children are insisting…”

“But if your children are insisting…”

So, here’s the thing.

The world is crippled and locked down because of a respiratory virus. RESPIRATORY.

Much of India, and especially the north where I live, is currently reeling under terrible air pollution.

The first thing I check every morning is the AQI, to try and gauge how much of a risk I’ll be taking by trying to exercise…to try and keep fit..to try and fight off The Virus. …yeah, that self-same respiratory one…

The front page of the paper yesterday had this grim piece of news:

And what do I spy on the next page? The very next page?

A short article that started, and I quote:

“To save Delhi from the annual air emergency caused by the bursting of crackers, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday launched an enforcement campaign ahead of Diwali to check the use of traditional, polluting fireworks and to ensure only green and less polluting varieties are available this time.”

Just re-read that, if you will, and tell me if you agree with me, when I say that I found 2 anomalies in just one sentence.

1)The air emergency is ALREADY here, Mr. Rai. We are already choking on the filthy toxic air. Diwali will only exacerbate it. Your enforcement drive may help reduce the levels from very dangerous to only marginally less dangerous, but we are already suffering.

2)”ensure only green and less polluting varieties are available”.

WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK??? Less polluting crackers will be ok?

Forgive me for being a killjoy, and probably I’m going to offend somebody here (seeing as how everyone gets so easily offended these days) but I’m going to say it all the same – why on earth can we not completely ban crackers and fireworks over Diwali?

Isn’t Diwali a religious festival? The Festival of lights?

Where is it written in scripture that you have to let off toxic, polluting, noisy crackers? Where is it written that you have to let off fireworks that terrify animals?

Why can’t we all just light the traditional “diyas” (little lamps) and dispense with the noise and pollution?

There, I’ve said it.

Every year millions of us suffer because of the toxic sludge that passes as air across much of northern India. This year we have a pandemic that is sickening and killing people the world over.

If ever there was a year to ban fireworks and crackers it is this year. Surely the government can do better than “less polluting varieties”.

But wait, Mr. Rai has another gem for us, and, yet again, I quote:

“I would request people to not burst crackers at all, but if your children are insisting and there is no other way, then we urge them to only use the green varieties.”

I rest my case.

Oh, tough, Delhi – Coronavirus is hammering the country. Pollution is choking us. But well, what can we all do, the children are insisting…

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