Ahead of Diwali, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday (November 9) imposed a total ban on sale and use of firecrackers in all cities and towns in the country from midnight today to November 30 midnight where the average of ambient air quality during November (as per available data of last year) fell under the “poor”, “very poor” and “severe” categories.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “The cities/towns where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below, only green crackers be sold, and the timings for use and bursting of crackers be restricted to two hours during festivals like Diwali, Chhath, New Year/Christmas Eve etc., as may be specified by the state concerned.”
“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 bench added.
“If nothing is specified, timing will be 8-10 pm on Diwali and Gurupurb, 6am-8 am on Chhatt and 11.55pm-12.30am during Christmas and New Year’s eve,” the order read.
The NGT also directed all states and Union Territories to initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of the potential of aggravation of COVID-19.
The NGT had on November 2 issued a notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and four states on whether use of firecrackers be banned from November 7 to 30 in the interest of public health and environment.
Also, the NGT imposed a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) from the midnight of November 9 to the midnight of November 30.
“There will be total ban against sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the NCR from midnight of November 9-10, 2020, to the midnight of November 30- December 1, 2020, to be reviewed thereafter,” the NGT said.
Earlier, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Sikkim governments had banned firecrackers.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday announced a ban on use of firecrackers and fireworks in Mumbai, saying the step was being taken to check coronavirus spread.
The civic body has, however, permitted use of “mild firecrackers” on Laxmi Pujan (November 14), saying Mumbaikars can use “anar” (cracker known for a sparkling display and showers of coloured sparks upwards) and fulzadi (sparklers) at their private premises on that day.
(With inputs from PTI)