NGT bans sale, use of firecrackers

In a bid to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from worsening owing to poor air quality, the National Green Tribunal on Monday imposed a total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in the National Capital Region from midnight of November 9 to midnight of November 30.

In a bid to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from worsening owing to poor air quality, the National Green Tribunal on Monday imposed a total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in the National Capital Region from midnight of November 9 to midnight of November 30.

A bench of the NGT, headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, directed that the order will also 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) falls under ‘poor’ or worse category.

“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, Chatt, New Year, Christmas, etc, as may be specified by the concerned state,” the order said.

The NGT said that restrictions are optional for the authorities at other places, but added that if there are more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same will prevail.

The tribunal, in its order, also said that all the states, Union Territories, Pollution Control Boards, and Pollution Control Committees may initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of the potential of aggravation of COVID-19.

“The Chief Secretaries and DGPs of all the States and Union Territories may issue and circulate an appropriate order in above terms with appropriate enforcement guidelines to all the District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police, PCBs/PCCs,” the order said.

“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,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.
On Thursday, The NGT had reserved, till November 9, its order on the imposition of ban on fire crackers across 23 states and UTs amidst the double whammy of the pollution crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, the NGT had sought response of the Union environment ministry, the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, the Central Pollution Control Board, the Delhi Police Commissioner and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee on whether the use of fire crackers should be banned from November 7 to 30.
On Wednesday, the tribunal expanded its ambit of hearing cases on pollution by use of firecrackers beyond the Delhi-NCR region and issued notices to 19 states and Union Territories where air quality is beyond norms.
On Wednesday, alluding to 122 non-attainment cities in 23 states and Union Territories, which have been consistently showing poorer air quality, the green tribunal said that it may have to consider direction to prohibit use of fire crackers during the period air quality is beyond a threshold to protect the health of the vulnerable groups.
Non-attainment cities include Delhi, Varanasi, Bhopal, Kolkata, Noida, Muzaffarpur, Mumbai, Jammu, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Kolkata, Patna, Gaya, Chandigarh etc.
Delhi Police on Sunday said that all licences issued for the sale of firecrackers in the national capital have been suspended and further action will be taken on National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) directions.

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