In a significant step towards curbing the air pollution ahead of Diwali, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday has imposed a total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in Delhi and adjoining areas starting midnight of November 9 to November 30.
It is to be noted that the national capital is already in the “severe” zone.
As per the initial reports, the order will be applicable to more than 2 dozen districts across four states that are a part of the NCR.
The tribunal has also said that nationwide, the ban will also be applicable to cities and towns where the average ambient air quality in November last year was poor or worse.
As per the order, only green crackers, which are considered to be less polluting, will be sold in cities and towns where air quality is “moderate”.
“Timings for bursting crackers will be restricted to two hours during festivals as specified by the state concerned. 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. However, the green tribunal has directed states to “initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of potential of aggravation of Covid-19”.
NGT added that if there are more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same will prevail.
Many states, including Sikkim, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Delhi, had already banned sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers.
The order further directs the central and state pollution control boards to regularly monitor and compile data “during this period” and upload it on their websites.
“The Central Pollution Control Board may compile… status of compliance of this order from all the states and union territories, and file a consolidated report,” it added.