Mumbai: To prevent the COVID-19 Pandemic from worsening due to poor air quality, the National Green Tribunal on Monday imposed a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in the National Capital Region from midnight of 9 November to midnight of 30 November.
A bench of NGT headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed that the order would 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.
“In cities/towns where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below, only green firecrackers should be sold and firecrackers use and burst time up 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 the restrictions are optional for officers at other locations, but added that if there are more stringent measures under the orders of the authorities, the same will prevail.
The tribunal, in its order, also said that all states, union territories, pollution control boards, and pollution control committees could initiate special campaigns to curb air pollution from all sources, given the potential for increased COVID-19.
The order stated, “The Chief Secretaries and DGPs of all the states and union territories can issue the above orders to all the District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police, PCB / PCC with appropriate enforcement guidelines.”
“CPCB and state PCB/PCC can regularly monitor air quality during this period which can be uploaded to their respective websites. CPCB can compile information on this subject, including from all states and union territories The compliance status of this order is also included. File a consolidated report with data compiled until the filing of the report, “before the next date,” it added.
The NGT was hearing a suo moto petition through Santosh Gupta on an application filed by the Indian Social Responsibility Network, which has at one time raised the issue of air pollution using firecrackers in the NCR as it is on air. Quality ‘very poor’ level and COVID-19 epidemic are likely to worsen.