New Delhi: Environmental organisations on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s ban on the sale of firecrackers here and in the National Capital Region, and said it will help to curb noise and air pollution.
The Green bodies, however, said more such restrictions were needed for overall better air quality. They called for more focus on the other sources responsible for emitting pollutants throughout the year.
“This (decision) will play a crucial role in regulating air pollution in the region and reduce the impact on human health.
The ban will ensure that the levels of air pollutant do not reach as high a limit as they did last year around Diwali, said Ajay Mathur, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
Greenpeace also appreciated the top court’s decision and said it might give some relief for the episodic air pollution levels in October.
However, Greenpeace also said that pollution levels in north India were many times higher than the national standards throughout the winter months.
It said there was need to look at a stricter, comprehensive and time-bound action plan to address all sources of air pollution across India.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that there will be no sale of firecrackers during Diwali, as it restored a November 2016 order, banning the sale and stocking of firecrackers in Delhi and the National Capital Region.
Firecrackers, a source of PM2.5 (particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 mm), a major pollutant with direct consequences on life expectancy, were not the sole reason behind the 2016 smog situation in Delhi.
According to a TERI report, in Delhi 35 per cent of PM2.5 comes from sources including transport (tail-pipe, road dust), construction and refuse (landfill sites).
In the NCR, domestic biomass burning for cooking, industries, transport and diesel generator (DG) sets contribute 25 per cent of the PM2.5
In the month of October, the meteorological conditions are not favourable for dispersing dust and particulate matter in a short interval. Thus the emissions from firecrackers, stubble burning including landfill fire, construction dust, power plant emissions, transport emissions and DG sets, cannot be dispersed making the air quality worse as compared to the rest of the year.
We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court… There is though also need to address other emitting sources, Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner Greenpeace told IANS.
In 2016 (November to December), the national capital suffered from one of its major air quality crises in a decade after Diwali.
The after-Diwali effect in 2016 (emissions from crackers and other sources), large-scale stubble burning in neighbouring Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh led to a cumulative effect of dragging the Air Quality Index (AQI) to “severe” category; thereafter the AQI (PM2.5 and PM10) breached the 500 mark at all locations in Delhi.
Schools were closed following government advisories and outdoor activities were officially discouraged.