Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan, has launched the Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali campaign. Addressing a gathering of about 800 children from schools of Delhi and NCR, the minister impressed upon the children the importance of their contribution towards reducing pollution by not bursting harmful fire crackers during Diwali.
Congratulating the teachers and students, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that it was heartening to see that children have taken on the leadership role in combating air and noise pollution caused by burning of fire crackers during Diwali celebrations.
The minister said that whenever children take up any task, they make all efforts to make it a success. He urged the children to also learn about the chemicals present in the fire crackers and the impact of these chemicals on various parts of the human body.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan impressed upon the children to celebrate this year’s Diwali by not buying fire crackers and instead buy a gift, food items, or sweets for the poor and underprivileged children living in their locality. Children were asked to buy earthen lamps and other such environment-friendly products.
Later, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also administered a pledge for a Green and Healthy Diwali to the gathering of students. The pledge will be widely circulated to the schools/colleges and other educational institutions and the school administration will be requested to administer the said Pledge during their school assembly up to Diwali. The message of celebrating Harit & Swasth Diwali will be taken across the country.
As a part of the campaign, the Environment Ministry will undertake various activities to create awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution. The activities include stickers/logo distribution, poster competition, advertisement on public transport systems, public appeal using Radio/FM, involving industry associations and other stakeholders.
As a part of the social media campaign, an online competition will be conducted, where any individual/organisation can make a video/audio clip on the theme ‘Pollution Free Diwali’. The best of these clips will be used officially to promote the theme across the country.
Air pollution has been rising above safe limits during winter in many cities and excessive burning of crackers during Diwali aggravates this problem. The pollution levels in Delhi last year, 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.