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    Mumbai Civic Body Bans Firecrackers Ahead of Diwali to Contain Covid-19 Spread

    People burst firecrackers to celebrate Diwali. (Reuters file)

    People burst firecrackers to celebrate Diwali. (Reuters file)

    The BMC decision follows the state government's appeal to citizens to avoid bursting firecrackers this Diwali as the resultant pollution could cause breathing problems among COVID-19 patients.

    The Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday announced a ban on use of firecrackers and fireworks in the city, ahead of Diwali, saying the step was being taken to check coronavirus spread. The civic body has, however, permitted use of 'mild firecrackers' on Laxmi Pujan (November 14), saying Mumbaikars can use 'anar' (cracker known for a sparkling display and showers of coloured sparks upwards) and fulzadi (sparklers) at their private premises on that day.

    In a circular, the BMC also appealed citizens to celebrate Diwali with due precaution and by following COVID-19 protocol. The BMC decision follows the state government's appeal to citizens to avoid bursting firecrackers this Diwali as the resultant pollution could cause breathing problems among COVID-19 patients.

    A civic official said the BMC studied similar orders issued by other state governments, including Rajasthan, adding that under the Epidemic Diseases Act, they can impose a ban on bursting of firecrackers at public and private premises during a pandemic. The official said state environment minister Aaditya Thackeray had asked the BMC to explore the possibility of banning firecrackers during the pandemic to avoid air pollution.

    A proposal for a 'cracker-free' Diwali was put forth by state public health minister Rajesh Tope. In a recent review meeting with senior COVID-19 task force members on the preparedness for a possible second wave, Tope had said firecrackers could have an adverse effect on lungs.

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