Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution by use of fire crackers aggravating the menace of Covid-19, 09/11/2020

  • 09/11/2020

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Tribunal on its own Motion Vs Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change & Others dated 09/11/2020. The matter relates to remedial action against pollution by use of fire crackers aggravating the menace of Covid-19 pandemic, posing higher danger to the lives and health of the vulnerable groups.

The NGT said that the increased adverse health impact of pollution by use of crackers on COVID-19, aggravating risk to lives and health has prompted the governments of Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, union territory Chandigarh, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the Calcutta High Court to ban the sale and use of crackers. There is the need for issuing directions for banning sale and use of fire crackers during November 9 to 30 in areas where air quality is ‘poor’, ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’.

The NGT directed the following measures to be taken:

i. There will be total ban against sale or use of all kinds of fire crackers in the NCR from midnight of November, 9 - 10, 2020 to the midnight of November 30 - December 1, 2020, to be reviewed thereafter

ii. The above direction would also apply to all cities/towns in the country where the average of ambient air quality during November falls under 'poor' and above category

iii. The cities/towns where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below, only green crackers must be sold and the timings for use and bursting of crackers should be restricted to two hours during festivals, like Diwali, Chatt, New Year/Christmas Eve as may be specified by the concerned states. If nothing is specified by the state, timing would be from 8 to 10 pm on Diwali and Gurupurb, 6 am to 8 am on Chatt and 11.55 pm to 12.30 am during Christmas and New year eve (which are yet to come and do not fall in November but if ban continues) and not otherwise

iv. At other places, bans/restrictions are optional for the authorities but if there are more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same would prevail

v. All states/union territories (UT)/pollution control boards (PCB)/pollution control committees (PCC) may  initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of potential aggravation of COVID-19

vi. The Chief Secretaries and Director General of Police (DGP) of all the states/UTs has to issue and circulate an appropriate order in above terms with appropriate enforcement guidelines to all the District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police, PCBs/PCCs

vii. The CPCB and the State PCBs/PCCs must regularly monitor the air quality during this period which may be uploaded on their respective websites. CPCB may compile information on the subject, including the status of compliance of the NGT order from all the states/UTs and file a consolidated report with data compiled till filing of report, before the next date (December 1, 2020).

A copy of the order should be forwarded to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Chief Secretaries and DGPs, state PCBs/PCCs and District Magistrates of all the states/UTs and by e-mail for compliance, the NGT order of November 9, 2020 said.