THE NATIONAL Green Tribunal Monday ordered a total ban against the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the National Capital Region from midnight of November 9-10 to the midnight of November 30-December 1, stating that there will be serious adverse effects on the health of people on account of Covid-19 as pollution aggravates the situation.
It said the ban will be absolute in NCR and that a case has also been made out for restricting sale and use of firecrackers in areas with moderate and poor air quality. It said the directions will also apply to all cities and towns in the country where the average ambient air quality during November last year was poor or worse.
However, the bench headed by the Tribunal’s chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel allowed the sale of green crackers in cities and towns where air quality is moderate or below and said bursting of crackers be restricted to two hours during festivals like Diwali, Chatth, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
While asking states to specify the timings, the Tribunal said, “If nothing is specified by the state, timing will be 8 to 10 pm on Diwali and Gurpurab, 6 am to 8 am on Chatth and 11.55 pm to 12.30 am during Christmas and New Year’s Eve (which are yet to come and do not fall in November but if ban continues) and not otherwise.”
The ban or restrictions are optional for other places, the Tribunal said. “But if there are more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same will prevail,” it said.
The Tribunal further directed the States, UTs, Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees to initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of potential aggravation of Covid-19. “The Chief Secretaries and DGPs of all States/UTs may issue and circulate as appropriate order in above terms with appropriate enforcement guidelines to all District Magistrates and Superintendent of Police, PCBs/PCCs,” the order reads.
The bench further directed that the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees may regularly monitor air quality during this period and asked them to upload the data on their respective websites. The case will now be taken up for further consideration on December 1.
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