New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has imposed a total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during Covid-19 pandemic in the national capital region and all cities in the country where the ambient air quality falls under the ‘poor’ and above category.
This came after expiry of the time period from November 9 to December 1 during which the green tribunal had imposed a total ban on the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the NCR and cities with poor ambient air quality amid the double whammy of pollution crisis and rising coronavirus infections.
NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel further said the direction to restrict use of firecrackers in cities and towns where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below to green crackers, for duration of not more than two hours and for celebration of any specified festivals or permitted occasions “will continue”.
“Other than specified festivals, prior permission of the District Magistrate of the area will be required for use of crackers for a limited period which will be given having regard to air quality. During Christmas and New Year, green crackers can be used from 11.55 p.m. to 12.30 a.m. only at places where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below as directed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” the bench ordered.
With a view to ensure availability of the air quality data, the green court directed for at least one air quality monitoring station to be set up at every district headquarter at the earliest. Where no such monitoring station exists, a manual monitoring station must be installed in three months, the court said.
The onus to install them has been put on the shoulders of state pollution control boards and the committees. The bench also asked for air quality data to be placed on the website of the district administration and at prominent locations in the towns, in the form of AQI, PM2.5 and PM10.
“We further direct that the Air Quality Monitoring Committees (AQMC) to coordinate with the District Magistrates for compliance of the above directions. The District Magistrates in every district may take steps to ensure that banned firecrackers are not sold,” the bench also comprising Judicial Member S.K. Singh and Expert Members S.S. Garbyal and Nagin Nanda said.
The District Magistrate, on a complaint or otherwise, have been given the task to recover compensation from violators of the directions. Any victim of pollution, apart from other remedies, can approach the District Magistrate for compensation.
“The Action Plans may be prepared by a six-member committee comprising of the Directors of Environment, Transport, Industries, Urban Development, Agriculture and Member Secretary, State Pollution Control Board or Committee of the concerned State. The Committee may be called Air Quality Monitoring Committee (AQMC).”
The AQMC will function under the overall supervision and coordination of the Principal Secretary, Environment of the concerned State and Union Territory. This may be further supervised by the Chief Secretaries concerned or their counterparts in Union Territories by ensuring intra-sectoral coordination.