India allows 'green' firecrackers for Diwali

The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday allowed the use of reduced-smoke fireworks during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, next month.

Activists had petitioned the top court for a complete ban on fireworks as pollution levels rise in the capital are once again hovering in a dangerous territory.

Read more: Diwali without firecrackers is like 'Christmas without Christmas trees'

Each year, Diwali festivities leave the capital New Delhi and its satellite cities engulfed by a toxic cloud of smoke and hazardous levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) — small particles that pose the greatest threat to lungs.

The air quality is further worsened around this time of the year due the burning of crop residue in neighboring states, vehicle exhausts and industrial gases.

A two-judge bench said firecrackers would be permitted during Diwali, Christmas and New Year, with conditions.

The fireworks would be allowed for a maximum two hours a day. Online sales have been banned.

Last year, the supreme court banned fireworks over the festival after pollutants released by millions of firecrackers forced school closures.

ap/rt (AFP, Reuters)

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