NGT Issues Notice to Centre, 4 States on Plea for Firecracker Ban
Environment Ministry and governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan asked to respond by 5 November.
The National Green Tribunal on Monday, 2 November, issued notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), as well as the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, regarding a plea for banning fire crackers during the month of November.
The NGT was hearing a plea by NGO Indian Social Responsibility Network, which had sought directions banning the use of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from 7-30 November, in light of the poor air quality and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its plea, the NGO had argued that high air pollution could affect vulnerable groups and increase the fatality rate when it came to the coronavirus, according to news agency PTI. It also suggested that using ‘green crackers’ as ordered in 2018 and 2019 by the Supreme Court would not be sufficient to remedy the situation.
The NGT bench headed by former apex court judge AK Goel asked for responses from the MoEF, as well as the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Delhi Police Commissioner, as well as the governments of the four states.
These responses will need to be provided before the next hearing in the case, on 5 November.
While issuing notice, the tribunal noted several arguments made in the plea, including the risk to vulnerable groups, a possible rise in COVID-19 cases in Delhi to 15,000 a day, and the fact that the Supreme Court’s previous orders on this issue had been made without factoring in the pandemic.
Noting that the Air Quality Index levels in Delhi were between 410-450, the tribunal observed that “Firecrackers emit poisonous gases like SO2 [Sulfur Dioxide], NOX [Nitrogen oxides], CO [Carbon Monoxide] as well as the metal besides creating noise. In the given climatic conditions, this may result in respiratory/pulmonary diseases, diabetics, hypertension and other diseases,” according to Scroll.in.
Rajasthan has already passed a ban on firecrackers, announced by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday.
(With inputs from Scroll.in and PTI.)
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