India's firecracker hub hit by anti-pollution drive

WITH thousands of workers painstakingly making by hand vast quantities of firecrackers, Sivakasi in southern India is usually at full tilt before Deepavali. But due to efforts to curb air pollution, the pyrotechnics epicentre is fizzling out.

In addition to gifts, elaborate feasts and family get-togethers, the Hindu mega-festival of lights, which falls this weekend, has in recent years also meant setting off firecrackers – millions of them.