NGT extends ban on sale and use of firecrackers during Covid-19 in NCR and cities where AQI falls into ‘poor’ or higher categories
The National Green Court (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 are in the categories ‘poor’ or higher.
The National Green Court in its statement said: “NGT says the sale and use of all firecrackers during the COVID-19 pandemic in NCR and all cities / towns where air quality is ‘bad’ is total.”
NGT allowed the use of green cookies during Christmas in locations where ambient air quality levels remain above “moderate” or better between 11:55 pm and 12:30 pm.
In its directive, NGT has also asked district magistrates to ensure that there is no sale of banned firecrackers. He also instructed the district magistrates to recover compensation from people who violated the NGT order.
NGT said that if people face problems due to the burning of firecrackers, they can consult the district magistrate for compensation. It said: “Any victim of contamination, in addition to other resources, can go to the district judge to obtain compensation.”
Air quality in New Delhi remained in the ‘very poor’ category on Saturday and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast that air quality levels are likely to remain in this category throughout the week.
The Central Pollution Control Board, which is implementing GRAP protocols in the city, said pollution levels in November were higher than last year. On Tuesday, CPCB shared the results of its findings, noting that the monthly average air quality index (AQI) in November was 327.9, compared to 312.2 in November 2019.
Several states such as Delhi had imposed a total ban on firecrackers before Diwali. West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan and Sikkim had imposed a blanket ban on firecrackers due to pollution and 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 times for citizens to burn cookies, while Karnataka allowed the sale of green cookies during Diwali.