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National Green Tribunal Extends Ban On Sale, Use Of Firecrackers Until COVID-19 Situation Improves

The National Green Tribunal directed to restrict the use of firecrackers in cities and towns, where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below to green crackers only and for the duration of not more than two hours

National Green Tribunal Extends Ban On Sale, Use Of Firecrackers Until COVID-19 Situation Improves
Highlights
  • NGT noted COVID19 and pollution can together pose damage to public health
  • Green crackers can be used during Christmas and New Year: NGT
  • Use of green crackers will be permitted from 11:55 pm to 12:30 am only: NGT

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has extended its ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in the national capital region and all cities and towns across the country where the ambient air quality falls under the ‘poor and worse’ category until the situation created due to the COVID-19 pandemic improves. “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,” a bench of the NGT, headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said in its order on Tuesday (December 2).

Also Read: Air Pollution And COVID-19: Is It About Time To Shift From Cloth Mask To Pollution Safe N95 Or N99 Mask?

The tribunal directed to restrict the use of firecrackers in cities and towns, where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below, to green crackers only and for the duration of not more than two hours and only for the celebration of any specified festivals or permitted occasions will continue.

Since pandemic is still continuing and is aggravated by the addition of pollution by firecrackers, having the potential of damage to public health, invoking precautionary principle under section 15 and 20 of the NGT Act, 2010, we are satisfied that there is need to continue directions for prohibition and regulation of use of fire crackers during pandemic COVID-19, depending upon air quality with further direction to take coercive measures for non-compliance, including the recovery of compensation and for redressal of claims of victims of such pollution and restoration of the environment, the order said.

Also Read: US Study Links Air Pollution To Increased COVID-19 Mortality, Indian Experts Say Causal Link Not Established

“Such festivals be specified by the States. Other than specified festivals, prior permission of the District Magistrate of the area will be required for use of crackers for the limited period which will be given having regard to air quality,” it added.

However, the NGT said that during Christmas and New Year, green crackers can be used from 11:55 pm to 12:30 am only at places where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below as directed by the Supreme Court.

With a view to ensure availability of air quality data, atleast one air quality monitoring station must be set up at every district headquarter at the earliest, the NGT said adding that where no such monitoring station exists, a manual monitoring station which is very easy to set up and is not costly must be installed at the earliest, using simpler procedure like global environment monitoring system.

It said that the air quality data may be placed on the website of the district administration and also at prominent locations in the towns, in the form of AQI, PM2.5 and PM10.

Also Read: Pollution Levels Higher In Delhi This Diwali As Compared To 2019: Central Pollution Control Board

The NGT further directed that the Air Quality Monitoring Committees (AQMC), in terms of earlier order dated October 8, 2018, to coordinate with the district magistrates for the compliance of the directions and also asked the district magistrates in every district to take steps to ensure that banned firecrackers are not sold.

The green tribunal had, on November 9, imposed a total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in the national capital region from midnight of November 9 to midnight of November 30 in a bid to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from worsening owing to poor air quality.

The NGT was hearing a suo motu plea initiated during the hearing on various applications, which raised the issue of air pollution by the use of firecrackers in NCR at a time when air quality is at a ‘very poor’ level and has the potential of worsening the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior advocate Raj Panjwani with lawyer Shibani Ghosh were appearing as amicus curiae in the matter while advocate Balendu Shekhar was representing the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Also Read: New Delhi’s Poisonous Air A Perennial Crisis Of Its Own Making: Experts

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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