In view of the deteriorating air quality, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday announced a blanket ban on the sale or bursting of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from the midnight of November 9 till the midnight of November 30.
Besides the NCR region, the direction will apply to all cities and towns in the country where the average of ambient air quality during November (as per available data of last year) have dropped below the ‘poor’ category, said NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.
However, the tribunal said that 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, Chatt, New Year/Christmas Eve.
If the timings are not specified by the state, the bench said, the timing will be from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali and Gurupurb, 6 am to 8 am on Chatt and 11:55 pm to 12:30 am on Christmas and New Year’s eve.
“At other places, ban/restrictions are optional for the authorities but if there are more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same will prevail,” the order passed by the green body read.
Ordering the states and UTs as well as the pollution control boards and pollution control committees to initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of the potential of aggravation of Covid-19, the tribunal said that state chief secretaries and DGPs may issue and circulate an appropriate enforcement guidelines to all the District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police. “The CPCB and the State PCBs/PCCs may regularly monitor the air quality during the period which may be uploaded on their respective websites,” the order read.
The order added that the tribunal has passed the directions keeping in view the “increased adverse health impact of pollution by use of crackers” in context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ban will be “absolute in NCR.”
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