ACTING ON the directions ofthe National Green Tribunal (NGT), the UP government on Tuesday banned the sale and use offirecrackers in 12 districts that have air quality ranging from poor to severe. The ban will come into effect from days preceding Diwali and continue till New Year. The 12 districts where the ban will come into force are Muzaffarnagar, Agra, Varanasi, Meerut, Hapur, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Moradabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Baghpat and Bulandshahr.
As per a statement issued by Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari, the NGT has mentioned that the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Muzaffarnagar is poor, while in Agra, Varanasi, Meerut and Hapur it is very poor. Seven districts — Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Moradabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Baghpat and Bulandshahr — have severe AQI.
“In the above-mentioned districts, following the NGT orders, directions have been issued to use Digital and Laser technology for the Diwali celebrations. The government has also informed the districts with ‘moderate’ or better AQI to sell only green crackers. Use of digital and laser technology will be encouraged even in these districts,” the statement issued by the Chief Secretary added.
Earlier, on Monday the NGT announced a blanket ban on the sale or bursting of firecrackers in the National Capital Region, stating that there will be serious adverse effects on the health of people as pollution aggravates the Covid-19 situation. It added that besides the NCR region, the directive will apply to all cities and towns in the country where the average ambient air quality in November (as per available data from last year) has dropped below the “poor” category.
The Tribunal also said cities and towns with “moderate” air quality can sell and burn only green crackers and that the timings to use them be restricted to two hours during festivals like Diwali, Chhath, New Year/Christmas Eve.
A detailed government order issued by the UP Chief Secretary to all the police and administrative authorities clarified that there will be a complete ban on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers in the NCR from November 9 midnighy till the midnight of November 30, and it will be reviewed thereafter.
The timing of burning green crackers allowed in the district with moderate or better AQI will be from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali and Gurupurab, 6 am to 8 am on Chhath and 11:55 pm to 12:30 am on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
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