The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday imposed total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR from midnight of November 9 to midnight of November 30. The cracker-ban will also apply to cities and towns in the country where air quality during November falls under 'poor' and above category.
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 (as per available data of last year) fell under the 'poor' and above categories.
The NGT said cities/towns where air quality is 'moderate' or below, only green crackers should be sold, and the timings for use and bursting of crackers be restricted two hours during festivals like Diwali, Chhath, New Year/Christmas Eve etc., as may be specified by the state concerned.
"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.
The tribunal directed all states and union territories to initiate drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of the potential of aggravation of COVID-19.
Earlier on November 2, the NGT had issued a notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and four state governments on whether the use of firecrackers be banned from November 7-30 in the interest of public health and environment. The tribunal was hearing various pleas seeking action against pollution by use of firecrackers during the time air quality is unsatisfactory with the potential of the severity of COVID-19 pandemic.