Guwahati: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday imposed a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from November 9 midnight to November 30 midnight, saying “celebration by crackers is for happiness and not to celebrate deaths and diseases”.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel clarified that the direction will apply to all cities and towns in the country where the average of ambient air quality during November 2019 was in ”poor” and above categories.
As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, the Guwahati AQI level is 106, which falls under the moderate category.
According to the NGT, cities/towns where air quality is “moderate” or below, only green crackers be sold, and the timings for use and bursting of cracker be restricted to two hours during festivals like, Diwali, Chhath Puja, New Year/Christmas eve etc.
However, the Assam government said that it will not ban any sale and use of firecrackers in the state.
The government further added that the respective police stations would decide the place for sale of firecrackers. In Kamrup (Metro), firecrackers could be sold in the designated areas to be identified by the police stations.
Meanwhile, keeping in mind the pollution and COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Pollution Control Board of Assam has urged everyone to avoid bursting fire-crackers as it impacts severely on the health of Covid patients.
“Diwali is a festival of light, so say yes to Pollution Free Deepawali, and let us make it a Happy Deepawali without fire-cracker. Fire-crackers create Air and noise Pollution and harmful to living organism,” the board stated.
“At other places, ban/restrictions are optional for the authorities but if there are more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same will prevail,” the bench said.
“Celebration by crackers is for happiness. It is not to celebrate deaths and diseases. Happiness of a few at the cost of lives of others is not the value in Indian society which stands for happiness and well-being of all,” it further added.
The tribunal directed chief secretaries and DGPs of all states and UTs to issue and circulate orders with appropriate enforcement guidelines to all district magistrates, superintendents of police and state pollution control boards
The NGT had on November 2 issued a notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and four states on whether use of firecrackers be banned from November 7 to 30 in the interest of public health and environment.
The tribunal’s direction came on a plea by Indian Social Responsibility Network, filed through Santosh Gupta, seeking action against pollution by use of firecrackers in the NCR during the time air quality is unsatisfactory with the potential of the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.