NGT bans firecrackers in places where air quality is “poor”

NEW DELHI, NOV 9 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 11/9/2020 1:10:49 PM IST

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday directed that there would be a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers between November 10 and 30 in all cities and towns across the country where the average ambient air quality in November fell under the ‘poor’ and above category.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also directed that in places where the ambient air quality fell under the ‘moderate’ or below category, only green crackers would be permitted to be sold and timings restricted to two hours for bursting of crackers. The panel specified that data from November 2019 would be calculated to ascertain the average ambient air quality for both the instances.img
The Tribunal in its order noted that several States had prohibited the sale and use of firecrackers to protect vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, persons with co-morbidities among others. Pointing to submissions from several States requesting that green crackers be allowed, it said, “The request is justified where air quality is moderate and below but not where air quality is poor and above which may result in deaths and diseases which has to be avoided even if there is financial loss.”
‘Pollution aggravates COVID-19’
“We are also of the view that since we have taken the view that pollution aggravates COVID-19, not only crackers are to be banned or restricted depending upon air quality, all State pollution control boards and committees must take special initiative to contain air pollution by regulating all other sources of pollution,” it added. If timings were not specified by respective States, then use of firecrackers would be permitted between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Diwali and Gurupurb, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Chhat and 11:55 pm to 12:30 am for Christmas and New Year eve (if the ban continues till then), it stated.
The Tribunal also directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State pollution control boards and committees to regularly monitor the air quality during this period and upload the data on their respective websites.

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