Which States Have Banned Firecrackers? What If You Flout Rules?
Will the ban actually help reduce pollution? Are green crackers allowed? Read on to know more.
Worsening air pollution, especially in northern parts of India, coupled with increasing cases of COVID-19, have forced state governments to impose a ban on firecrackers – in light of a host of festivals, including Diwali, Kali Puja and Chhat Puja.
Preliminary and isolated studies from different parts of the world have signaled a proportionate relationship between polluted air and COVID-19 severity.
So, which states have completely banned firecrackers? Will the ban actually help reduce pollution? Read on to know more.
Which state governments have imposed complete ban on firecrackers?
- West Bengal
What are the rules in these states?
On 5 November, the Delhi government declared a ban on firecrackers in the national capital, with the decision being taken after reviewing the rising COVID-19 cases.
The governments of Sikkim, Odisha and Rajasthan, too, imposed a state-wide ban to protect the "health of public and those affected by COVID-19”.
What are the rules in cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru?
- Mumbai: The Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has banned bursting of crackers in public and private places under its jurisdiction. The use of soundless crackers will be allowed between 8 pm and 10 pm only on Diwali.
- Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government has allowed people to burst firecrackers for two hours on Diwali – from 6 am to 7 am and later between 7 pm and 8 pm.
- Bengaluru: The BJP government in Karnataka first imposed a total ban on firecrackers and then went back on it after public outrage. The state has now allowed the use of green crackers alone on Diwali.
Firecrackers are banned only in Delhi, right? Can I burst firecrackers in Gurugram or Noida?
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a total ban on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR from the midnight of 9 November to midnight of 30 November. Even though the respective state government of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have not imposed ban on firecrackers, people in Gurugram and Noida are not legally allowed to either sell or burst firecrackers.
The Haryana government, on the other hand, said the use of firecrackers will be allowed only between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali and Gurupurab, and 11:55 pm and 12:30 am on Christmas and New Year's Eve.
What happens if I burst firecrakcers despite the ban?
You are likely to be booked under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for disobeying an order promulgated by a public servant. This could lead to imprisonment which may extend to one month or a fine up to Rs 200, or both.
However, if such disobedience causes danger to human life, health or safety. the person could be punished with imprisonment up to six months or with find up to Rs 1,000 or both.
Does ban on firecrackers actually help reduce pollution?
While environmental activists have called for a long-term policy to battle air pollution, they say that banning firecrackers is crucial this year, especially when the states are also battling COVID-19.
According to experts, air pollution from firecrackers could surge the number of COVID-19 patients and increase the risk of mortality.
Speaking to NDTV, Dr Ravindra Mehta, Senior Consultant, Pulmonology at Apollo Speciality Hospitals, said:
“It is well known that crackers increase pollution, and pollution increases COVID. People who are recovering from COVID and have lung diseases will certainly have more problems if they are exposed to a higher level of pollution. Both of these make it a reason to reduce the crackers which are burst during Diwali. Banning crackers implies that the government has taken it to the highest level of consideration, which is equivalent to a lockdown Ultimately, reduction is the goal here, and banning is an extreme step of reduction.”Dr Ravinder Mehta
What are green crackers? Are they allowed?
The definition of a green cracker given in the Supreme Court order from 2018 is one that avoids the usage of ash to reduce particulate matter by 15-20 percent, has low emissions such that pollutants are reduced by 30-35 percent, leads to significant reduction in NOx and SO2 and doesn’t have any of the banned chemicals like lead, mercury, lithium, arsenic and antimony.
These reduced pollutants are still pollutants. We’re already at a point where air quality has worsened. Releasing any more amount of pollutants will not be “safe”.
While states like Karnataka has allowed green crackers, there is a complete ban on all kinds of crackers in Delhi-NCR, Odisha, Sikkim, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
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