Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has issued a Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on preventive measures to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) during Diwali celebrations and has urged the citizens to avoid bursting crackers to curb noise and air pollution.

This directive from the state government comes after the National Green Tribunal was informed on Thursday that Air pollution is an important cofactor increasing the risk of mortality from COVID-19.

State health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said he favours a firecracker-free Diwali this year to reduce air pollution and prevent rise in coronavirus cases.

Tope said, “We appeal to the people to have a cracker-free Diwali celebration and we are confident that the people will cooperate for overall betterment of people’s health. The smoke due to firecrackers causes discomfort to people. In the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak, we must have a cracker-free Diwali.”

The latest research on exposure to air pollution and risk of death from Covid-19 infection suggests that 'air pollution is an important cofactor increasing the risk of mortality from Covid- 19.

The study also states that this finding should provide 'extra motivation for combining ambitious policies to reduce air pollution with measures to control the transmission of Covid- 19'. As per the study, particulate air pollution contributed 15% to Covid-19 mortality worldwide.

Maharashtra currently has the highest cases and deaths due to the contagion with maximum number of active patients in Pune, Thane, Mumbai, Nashik, Nagpur, Chandrapur, Raigad and Satara.