The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a total ban on sale and use of firecrackers in Delhi and adjoining areas starting midnight of November 9 to November 30. The ban has been imposed ahead of Diwali to prevent worsening of the air quality – already in the “severe” zone – because of fire crackers.
However, the Haryana government has allowed sale and use of firecrackers for two hours on festivals, including Diwali, citing impact on small traders. The state has also allowed celebratory bursting of “green crackers” on occasions, including marriages.
The NGT order will be applicable to more than 2 dozen districts across four states that are a part of the NCR. Nationwide, it will also be applicable to “cities and towns where the average ambient air quality in November last year was “poor” or worse”, the green tribunal has said.
Only green crackers – considered to be less polluting – will be sold in cities and towns where air quality is “moderate”, the tribunal ordered also restricting the timing of use to two hours as specified by the state “due to Covid”. “If nothing is specified, timing will be 8-10 pm on Diwali and Gurupurb, 6am-8 am on Chhatt and 11.55pm-12.30am during Christmas and New Year’s eve,” the order read.
For “other areas” with better air quality, NGT has made imposition of cracker ban optional, but directed states to “initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of COVID-19”. It added that if there are “more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same will prevail”. Even before today’s order, many states, including Sikkim, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Delhi, had banned sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers. The order also directs the central and state pollution control boards to regularly monitor and compile data “during this period”, put it on their websites and “file a consolidated report”.