Green Diwali this time: Chandigarh enforces NGT decision to ban crackers

The National Green Tribunal order will be applicable to NCR region and to all cities and towns, where the average of ambient air quality during November have dropped below the ‘poor’ category

Only green crackers can be sold in places where the air quality is of “moderate” quality.

The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) recently ordered banning the sale and burning of fire crackers in Delhi, NCR and all those places where ambient air quality is graded as “poor”.

The decision has vindicated the stand taken by the Chandigarh administration, which has said it will continue with its earlier decision to ban firecrackers to prevent a second Covid-19 wave.

“We have been vindicated by NGT orders and we stick to our decision,” said UT Adviser Manoj Parida while speaking to The Indian Express. Parida said the NGT passed a comprehensive order, which supports the decision already taken by the Chandigarh Administration.

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A number of states have banned sale and bursting of firecrackers during Diwali this year. Prominent among them are Rajasthan, Delhi, West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka (earlier a complete ban, now only sale of green crackers allowed), Sikkim, Chandigarh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh (ban on sale of imported crackers). Maharashtra has also asked its residents to exercise restraint and avoid bursting crackers to keep Covid-19 under check.

The NGT passed an order on Monday (November 9), enforcing a ban in NCR region and passing directives that the decision will apply to all cities and towns in the country where the average of ambient air quality during this month (as per available data of last year) have dropped below the ‘poor’ category.

Only green crackers can be sold in places where the air quality is of “moderate” quality. ‘Green crackers’ have “less harmful chemicals” as compared to traditional crackers, according to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Also read: Annual chaos over crackers isn’t enough to tackle toxic air

In addition, the NGT issued specific two-hour windows to burn crackers during festivals like Diwali, Chatt, New Year/Christmas Eve.

After the Chandigarh administration’s firm stand, cracker sellers gathered outside the BJP office in Sector 33, seeking relief.

“This is cheating with us. NGT order says the ban will be in force in cities where AQI is poor. Chandigarh’s air quality is better than that of Punjab. Crackers will be burst in Mohali, Panchkula, but not in Chandigarh,” said Chirag Aggarwal, General Secretary of the Chandigarh crackers seller association.

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