Updated on 3 Dec 2020, 8:50 am
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued “total ban” on sale and use of all firecrackers during COVID-19 pandemic in all cities and towns in the country where air quality is 'poor'. It said district magistrates should ensure banned firecrackers are not sold and any victim of pollution can approach the district magistrate for compensation.
"There will be a total ban on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers during COVID-19 pandemic in the NCR and all cities/towns in the country where the ambient air quality falls under the 'poor' and above category," the bench headed by NGT chairman Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
Issuing the ban order, the NGT also said that during Christmas and New Year, green crackers can be used from 11:55 pm to 12:30 am at places where air quality is 'moderate' or better.
Earlier, the Mizoram government announced a ban on sale and bursting of firecrackers and sky lanterns, as well as sale and possession of toy guns on Christmas and New Year in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was taken during a high-level meeting held on November 23 at the SAD Conference Hall, MINECO, chaired by state Home Minister Lachamliana.
The government appealed to the people of Mizoram to avoid bursting crackers as pollution caused by such activities could exacerbate conditions of COVID-19 patients and people suffering from other respiratory diseases.
Prior to it, on November 10, the NGT ordered a complete ban on firecrackers in cities and towns across the country where the average of ambient air quality fell under the poor category or above (worse) during November.
The NGT also directed that in the cities or towns where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below, only green crackers can be sold and the timings for use and bursting of crackers be restricted to two hours during festivals like Diwali, Chatt, New Year and Christmas Eve etc., as may be specified by the concerned state.
The bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the CPCB and the State PCBs/PCCs may regularly monitor the air quality during this period which may be uploaded on their respective websites. CPCB may compile information on the subject, including the status of compliance of this order from all the States/UTs and file a consolidated report with data compiled till filing of the report, before the next date by e-mail at email@example.com preferably in the form of searchable PDF/OCR Support PDF and not in the form of Image PDF.
All states/UTs/PCBs/PCCs may initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of potential aggravation of Covid-19. The chief secretaries and DGPs of all the states/UTs 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, it added.