Environment Canada is in hot water after issuing air quality warnings in anticipation of Diwali fireworks.
The agency issued three air quality alerts in Ontario Monday morning for Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Markham.
The statement says high levels of pollution are expected in these regions this evening and overnight.
“A special air quality statement is in place due to the possibility of deteriorating air quality due to fireworks for Diwali,” the notification said.
Diwali is an important holiday for the Hindu, Sikh and Jain diaspora. Also known as the Festival of Lights, people celebrate it by lighting fireworks and terracotta oil lamps.
Many are calling out Environment Canada for its hypocrisy and asking why this warning has not been issued for other national holidays that involve a lot of fireworks.
“Aww [Environment Canada]! Are you all issuing the same air quality warnings on Canada Day, Labor Day, etc. out than what you guys are doing on Diwali? Ask for a bunch of friends,” tweeted respiratory therapist Jaspreet Dhillon.
Aww @environment! Are you all issuing the same air quality warnings on Canada Day, Labor Day, etc. out than what you guys are doing on Diwali?
Ask a bunch of friends…
— Jaspreet Dhillon (@Jaspreet_D) October 24, 2022
“Genuine question: Has anyone ever seen this type of warning for Canada Day fireworks?” asked another Twitter user, sharing a screenshot of the warning.
Genuine question: Has anyone ever seen this type of warning for Canada Day fireworks? pic.twitter.com/cXFigvuTUI
— Natasha Goel (@natgl7) October 24, 2022
Why single out Diwali and not other fireworks-heavy holidays like…Canada Day? 🤔 https://t.co/C9mtgJkK90
— Rosel Kim Jihyun Kim (@jroselkim) October 24, 2022
Others point out how the targeted warning is “problematic”.
“If air quality statements for fireworks are a thing now, rolling them out for the first time today is incredibly problematic,” one Twitter user shared.
I’ve never seen an air quality alert due to fireworks for Canada Day or Victoria Day or NYE, only Diwali. If air quality declarations for fireworks are anything to go by, issuing them today for the first time is incredibly problematic: pic.twitter.com/Wb9ikNNQMQ
— Krista Coughlin (@kristacoughlin) October 24, 2022
no cap it feels racist as hell. never seen this report for Canada Day https://t.co/6f7StXzrc5
— BRiCK BOY (@JiMMYBRiCKZ) October 24, 2022
Is it weirdly racist? sounds like the “race card” but with… scattered single shots of fireworks over a period in October… Or massive firework displays across Canada during Canada Day? Seems strange to announce it now and not during humid summer… I don’t know https://t.co/C36YFrIgik
— kevin santiago (@Ksteezysantiago) October 24, 2022
Many say it’s only fair to also see air quality alerts for holidays like Canada Day and Victoria Day move forward.
Guess that means Environment Canada will also issue air quality alerts for Canada Day, Victoria Day, the CNE Air Show, etc. forward outreach https://t.co/iozYXmP4YO
— Rahul Kalvapalle (@Kalvapalle) October 24, 2022
Daily Hive has reached out to Environment Canada for comment and will update this story when they respond.