The Government of Odisha has decided to ban the sale and use of the firecrackers from November 10 to 30 amid the coronavirus scare. “In some parts of our country and in the world, where Covid-19 appropriate behaviours have not been strictly adhered to, the resurgence of Covid-19 infection has been witnessed. A number of countries across the world have been compelled to reimpose the lockdowns and other extreme measures to contain the resurgence and further spread of the disease. The international experience shows that the coming winter season may see the further spread of the pandemic,” the Odisha government said in a statement.

“It is generally observed that elderly persons, children, persons with comorbidities and others develop respiratory problems during winter. Further, air pollution, a higher concentration of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) in the air aggravates respiratory problems,” the statement read further.

The burning of firecrackers can introduce harmful chemicals into the air, such as nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide. These chemicals can affect the respiratory health of those who are vulnerable. “Such pollutants can further aggravate the health conditions of Covid-19 positive persons besides persons staying in home isolation,” the government added.

The Odisha government took the decision in public interest and added that Diwali can be celebrated with lights and without firecrackers. The festival of lights, which can be celebrated by lighting earthen lamps, candles and lighting materials.