NGT imposes nationwide ban on firecrackers where air quality falls in 'poor', 'very poor', 'severe' categories

Cities falling in 'moderate', 'good' bracket allowed to burst green crackers for 2 hours on Diwali; facing massive losses, manufacturers in a tizzy

Sumedha Sharma

Tribune News Service

Gurugram, November 9

Taking a tough stance to check the deteriorating air quality, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday imposed a total ban on the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region from November 9 midnight of November 30. 

The ban that comes a day after Haryana CM ML Khattar allowed sale and bursting of crackers for two hours on Diwali has sent firecracker sellers and manufacturers in a tizzy as they claim to have invested a lot in the production, procurement and licence of newly introduced green crackers. 

As per the decision pronounced on Monday, a Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the firecracker ban would also apply to other cities and towns in the country where the air quality in November fell under 'poor', 'very poor' or 'severe' categories. 

On November 2, the NGT had issued a notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and four state governments asking whether the use of firecrackers should be banned from November 7 to 30 in the interest of public health and environment. 

The NGT said cities and towns where the air quality was 'moderate' or below, only green crackers should be sold and the timings for use and bursting of crackers be restricted to two hours during festivals. 

Meanwhile, the firecracker sellers across the NCR have demanded a ban on construction rather that crackers claiming that the construction activity had emerged as the worst contributor to smog, especially in cities like Gurugram. They claimed the ban would promote illegal sale of conventional polluting crackers rather than the safe green ones. 

"What is the point of introducing green crackers when you have to ban them. The construction activity and stubble burning are the main culprits. Rather than dealing with these issues, we are being made scrapegoats. This will increase the sale of illegal crackers," said Sudheer Manchanda, a cracker distributer.


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