New Delhi [India], November 5 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday issued notices to 23 states and Union territories regarding the imposition of a ban on firecrackers in a bid to protect the health of the vulnerable groups amidst the double whammy of pollution crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
A batch of pleas in the matter sought their stand on whether the firecrackers be banned for the period from November 7 to November 30 in the interest of the public health and environment.
This came two days after the NGT issued a notice to the environment ministry, Delhi police commissioner, governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Central Pollution Control Board and DPCC on whether the firecrackers be banned for some period.
The Bench of NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel on Wednesday sought response of other states on a batch of applications, seeking a ban on the firecrackers across the country during the time the air quality is unsatisfactory.
The Bench noted that there are expert views on a clear nexus of air pollution with COVID-19 and with increased air pollution, the virus can cause more damage. The tribunal also noted that the scope of proceedings may need to be extended beyond the National Capital Region.
The NGT did not send the notice to Odisha and Rajasthan as they have already imposed a ban on the sale of crackers following their impact on the health of COVID-19 patients. Delhi, on the other hand, has allowed only the bursting of green firecrackers.
The NGT earlier stated that the COVID-19 situation may cause various adverse effects assuming that it may increase the number of deaths of children, senior citizens and other vulnerable persons. "Number of diseases may also increase. There are reports in the public domain that air quality of Delhi is deteriorating and further deterioration may give rise to an increase in COVID cases," the NGT had said.
"It is well known that the Graded Response Action Plan has been introduced envisaging the prohibiting of polluting activities if the air quality deteriorates. The Air Quality Index is reported to be averaging between 410 and 450, that is hazardous category," the NGT noted.
"Firecrackers emit poisonous gases like SO2, NOX, CO as well as metals, besides creating noise. In the given climatic conditions, this may result in respiratory/pulmonary diseases, diabetes, hypertension and other diseases," said the tribunal.
The plea also referred to the statement of the Union health minister and the health minister of Delhi that during the festive season, there will be a rise in COVID cases due to air pollution.
It will lead to poor visibility, hazy conditions and asphyxia, the applicants said. (ANI)