The timings for bursting the crackers have also been restricted to two hours on the day of Deepavali.

Fireworks displayed on a shelf, a man wearing a mask picks them up and takes stockImage for representation/PTI
news COVID-19 Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - 10:28

The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday issued orders restricting the use of firecrackers in the state. Citing a recent order from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) regarding the danger of fireworks aggravating the COVID-19 situation, the state government has ordered that only green crackers can be sold and used in the state. The timings for bursting the crackers have also been restricted to two hours on the day of Deepavali, from 8 pm to 10 pm. 

Shops selling firecrackers must maintain a minimum distance of 10 feet between two shops, and physical distancing must be followed in customer queues, the order said. People have been advised to wash hands with soap instead of hand sanitiser while bursting crackers and lighting lamps. 

According to the order, the NGT has directed to impose a ban on sale of firecrackers in areas where the air quality is Poor, Very Poor and Severe, while cities and towns with air quality that is Moderate or below can have only green crackers sold and used between 8 pm to 10 pm during Deepavali (November 14), Gurpurab (November 30), and from 11.55 pm to 12.30 am during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 

According to air quality levels monitored by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, in most urban areas in the state, the Air Quality Index (AQI) falls between Good to Moderate, the order said. 

As of November 10, a total of 8,18,473 people in the state are known to have recovered from COVID-19, while there are 20,958 active patients as per government records. The lung capacity of the affected persons could be at risk due to fireworks, the order said, and has restricted the use of fireworks “in the interest of public health at large.”

A few states including Rajasthan, Delhi, Odisha, Sikkim, West Bengal and Maharashtra have banned bursting of firecrackers, while others like Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have banned sale and distribution of imported crackers. Karnataka has permitted bursting green crackers, while Tamil Nadu has imposed specified timings for bursting fireworks.