The Union Ministry of Environment has launched Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali campaign. The campaign was first launched in 2017-18 to encourage school children in Delhi and NCR to take the pledge to ensure a green and healthy Diwali by minimising the bursting of crackers.
The Environment Ministry has initiated the campaign on the similar lines this year but extended it to include pan-India.
• In 2017, a large number of school children especially from eco-clubs participated and took a pledge to minimise bursting of crackers and discourage others including their neighbours and friends from bursting of crackers.
• During the intensive campaign, the children were advised to celebrate Diwali in an environment-friendly manner by gifting plant sapling to their relatives and friends along with sweets and undertake cleaning of houses, neighbourhoods, schools, collect old books and unused notebooks gift to needy children, donate old warm clothing, blankets to night-shelters and other homeless people.
• The children were also encouraged to light up their houses and their schools with candles and diyas.
• The campaign was extremely successful and the air quality had not deteriorated post-Diwali in 2017 unlike what was experienced in 2016.
• This year the campaign has been extended Pan-India. The Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali campaign is now merged with ‘Green Good Deed’ movement that has been initiated for the conservation and protection of the environment.
• The Ministry is encouraging all schools and colleges to be part of this campaign.
• Air pollution is a serious health issue in the country especially in the northern parts during winter seasons.
• It is attributed to dust, burning of crops in certain states, burning of garbage construction and prevailing climatic conditions.
• The pollution has serious impacts on the health of children, aged people and people suffering from respiratory ailments.
• The festival of Diwali, which is celebrated by most people through the practice of bursting crackers, falls during the same period.
• The crackers not only contain combustible chemicals that include potassium chlorate powdered aluminum, magnesium, salts of barium, copper, sodium, lithium, strontium but also emit smoke on combustion of these chemicals along with the sound.
• As a result, there has been a significant impact on the environment and health of the people and animal and birds.
• The airborne pollution has also been rising above safe limits during winter in many cities.
• The pollution levels in Delhi in 2016, especially post Diwali, reached such levels that the government had to declare an emergency situation, which had socio-economic consequences like closing down of schools, construction sites and power stations.
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Who: Environment Ministry