India’s top court bans firecracker sales before Diwali

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NEW DELHI: India’s top court ordered a temporary ban on the sale of firecrackers in New Delhi on Monday. The decision comes a little over a week before Diwali—the Hindu festival of lights—when Delhi fills with acrid smoke from celebratory firecrackers set off day and night. The onset of winter usually worsens the situation as cooler temperatures trap the pollutants, exacerbated by crop burning in neighboring states. Acting on a petition, the Supreme Court directed that all licenses to sell firecrackers in New Delhi and neighboring cities be suspended until October 31. India’s notoriously poor air quality causes over 1 million premature deaths every year, according to a joint report by two US-based health research institutes earlier this year. A 2014 World Health Organization survey of more than 1,600 cities ranked Delhi as the most polluted.

AFP

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