India cracks down on air pollution as Diwali begins

The Indian government orders diesel generators and a power plant in Delhi to be shut down as air quality in the capital deteriorates ahead of the Hindu festival of lights, when a night of firecrackers sends pollution levels rocketing. Samantha Vadas reports.

NEW DELHI, COIMBATORE, TAMIL NADU, INDIA (ANI) – Ushered in with a bang, the annual Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, kicking off on Thursday (October 19).

But as people across India let off fireworks for the celebration, there were fewer to be seen in and around Delhi.

The supreme court has put a temporary ban on the sale of crackers in the capital, because officials are worried they could send already high pollution levels skyrocketing.

Air quality began worsening in the city ahead of the festival this week prompting the government to order diesel generators and a power plant to be shut down.

While emergency services like hospitals are exempt, many well-off residents are now running on back up generators.

The measures will stay in place until March to prevent pollution levels from rising further.

Choking smog in Delhi has become a major public policy issue in the past few years as residents become more aware of the life-threatening effects of breathing dirty air which is often ranked among the world’s most toxic.