NGT bans sale, use of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR till November 30

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a blanket ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in Delhi-national capital region (NCR) from the midnight of November 9 to that of November 30.

In a 58-page order, which was issued on Monday, the NGT has said that the ban would apply to all cities or towns in the country, where the average of ambient air quality during November, as per the available data of last year, fall in the “poor” or “very poor” category.

Air quality index (AQI) between 201 and 300 and from 301 to 400 is considered to be in the “poor” and “very poor” category, respectively.

In cities or towns, where AQI is “moderate” – between 101 and 200 — or below, only green crackers will be allowed to be sold.

The timings for the use and bursting of firecrackers would be restricted to only two hours during festivals such as Diwali, which would be celebrated on Saturday (November 14), as specified by the state, the order stated.

In other states, the ban and restrictions would be optional, it added.

The chief secretaries and directors-general of police (DGPs) of all states and union territories (UTs) have been directed to circulate an appropriate order and enforcement guidelines to all district magistrates (DMs) and superintendents of police (SPs), pollution control boards etc, the order said.

The tribunal has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the state pollution control boards to regularly monitor the AQI between November 9 and 30 and upload the recorded data on their respective websites.

CPCB would compile information on the subject, including the status of compliance of this order from all the states and UTs, it added.

“Having regard to increased adverse health impact of pollution by use of crackers on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), aggravating risk to lives and health which has led to ban by the governments of Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Chandigarh (a UT), Delhi Pollution Control Committee and by the Calcutta high court on the sale and use of firecrackers, applying the ‘sustainable development’ and the ‘precautionary’ principles, a case is made out for issuing directions for banning the sale and use of firecrackers between November 9 and 30…” the order stated.

The tribunal ordered the ban while hearing pleas against the bursting of firecrackers during Diwali because of its potential to aggravate the severity of the raging Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

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