The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on November 9 imposed a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from the midnight of November 9 to the midnight of November 30.
Meanwhile, A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel clarified that 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) fell under the “poor” and above categories.
“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, PTI news agency reported.
The bench said that, “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,”. Also, The NGT 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.
Earlier on Nov 2, the tribunal had issued a notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and four state governments on whether the use of firecrackers be banned from November 7 to 30 in the interest of public health and environment.
However, The central government’s Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi said a significant increase in the number of “fire points” was observed over Punjab (around 3,000), Haryana and Uttar Pradesh which is likely to impact the air quality of Delhi-NCR and other parts of northwest India.
The national capital’s air quality remained “severe” for the fifth consecutive day on Nov 9, with calm wind speed exacerbating the effect of stubble burning. V K Soni, the head of the India Meteorological Department’s environment research centre, asserted a major improvement in Delhi-NCR’s air quality was highly unlikely in the coming days. The air quality is likely to be recorded in the upper end of the ”very poor” category on Diwali if we discount firecrackers emissions.
(Author, Trilok Singh is with CEO here).