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NGT bans crackers in NCR, other cities with poor air quality in Nov

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 09, 2020 Published on November 09, 2020

Several States , UTs have banned fireworks   -  Sushil Kumar Verma

Other cities can allow green crackers, but only for two hours during festivals

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday banned sale and use of firecrackers till November 30 in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in cities and towns across the country where average ambient air quality is in the “poor to severe” range during the month.

NGT Principal Bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “Celebration by crackers is for happiness. It is not to celebrate deaths and diseases. Happiness of a few at the cost of life of others is not the value in Indian society which stands for happiness and well-being of all.”

It however, agreed to review the order subsequently.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) monitors ambient air quality in 122 cities or towns in the country and many of them report poor air quality during winter months. For these urban areas, NGT said, the decision has to be taken on the basis of air quality data available from November last year.

(According to the AQI, on a scale of 0-500, zero to 50 is considered ‘good’; 51 to 100 ‘satisfactory’; 101 to 200 ‘moderate’; 201 to 300 ‘poor’; 301 to 400 ‘very poor’; and 401 to 500 ‘severe’)

Restricted use

In other cities or towns where air quality is moderate or less, only green crackers can be sold and the bursting should be restricted to two hours during festivals such as Diwali and Chhat, NGT said.

The timing can be specified by the State. But if it hasn’t, the Green Tribunal has listed out the timing during which these crackers can be burst. In other places, NGT said, the ban or restrictions can be optional and if there are stringent measures put in place by authorities, they would prevail.

Several States and Union Territories such as Rajasthan, Odisha, Sikkim, Delhi and Chandigarh have banned firecrackers, while Calcutta High Court ruled against its use in West Bengal.

The Tribunal also rejected the plea of Tamil Nadu government that the ban on firecrackers will affect the livelihood of a lot of people as the State accounts for 90 per cent firecracker production in the country. Indian Fireworks Manufacturers’ Association, Sivakasi also pleaded its case saying that the Supreme Court has allowed crackers with reduced emission and green crackers.

NGT also asked all States and Union Territories to initiate a special drive to contain air pollution from all sources and urged Chief Secretaries and DGPs in the States to issue appropriate orders in this regard.

Delhi clamp down

Meanwhile, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said action will be taken against those not complying with the ban on firecrackers under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act which invites a jail term of up to six years and a fine of up to ₹1 lakh.

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Published on November 09, 2020
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