NGT extends ban on sale and use of firecrackers during Covid-19 in NCR and cities where AQI falls under ‘poor’ or above categories
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday banned the sale and use of firecrackers in the National Capital Region and in cities across the country where ambient air quality levels fall under ‘poor’ or above categories.
The National Green Tribunal in its statement said, “NGT says total ban on sale, use of all firecrackers during COVID-19 pandemic in NCR and all cities/towns where air quality is ‘poor’.”
NGT permitted using green crackers during Christmas at places where ambient air quality levels remain above ‘moderate’ or better between 11:55 pm to 12:30 pm.
In its directive NGT has also asked the district magistrates to ensure that there is no sale of banned firecrackers. It also instructed the District Magistrates to recover compensation from people violating the NGT’s order.
NGT said if individuals face problems due to burning of firecrackers they can consult the district magistrate for compensation. It said, “Any victim of pollution, apart from other remedies, can approach the District Magistrate for compensation.”
The air quality in New Delhi remained in the ‘very poor’ category on Saturday and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that the air quality levels are likely to remain in this category throughout the week.
The Central Pollution Control Board which is implementing the GRAP protocols in the city said that pollution levels in November were higher than last year. CPCB on Tuesday shared the results of their findings and pointed out that the monthly average air quality index (AQI) this November was 327.9, as compared to 312.2 in November 2019.
Several states like Delhi had imposed a blanket ban on firecrackers before Diwali. West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan and Sikkim had imposed a blanket ban on firecrackers owing to pollution and it leading to poor air quality.
Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka had not imposed a blanket ban but asked citizens to exercise restraint while burning firecrackers. Punjab and Haryana designated specific timings for citizens to burn crackers while Karnataka allowed the sale of green crackers during Diwali.