NGT reserves order on issue of country-wide temporary ban on firecrackers

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Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi [India], November 5 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday reserved its order on the issue of imposing a temporary ban on the use and sale of firecrackers across the country in a bid to protect vulnerable people from the increase of air pollution amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A bench of the NGT, headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, reserved the order after hearing amicus curiae senior advocate Raj Panjwani and Indian Fireworks Manufacturers' Association lawyer and senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani along with counsels appearing for the Ministry of Environment, Central Pollution Control Board and the lawyers for various states.

"Hearing concluded. Order reserved. Order will be uploaded on the website by November 9," the NGT held. The tribunal also said that any counsels are permitted to file any further note of submissions by tomorrow evening if so desired.

It also noted the statement of counsel for West Bengal that the state is contemplating taking appropriate measures in this regard and the stand of the Delhi Government that there is a meeting scheduled in the evening to consider the measures to be taken on the subject.

Yesterday, the NGT had issued notice to 23 states on the issue of imposing a ban on firecrackers.

Earlier this week, the tribunal had issued notice to Environment Ministry, CPCB, DPCC, Delhi Government, Delhi Police Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, seeking their stand whether the use of firecrackers may be banned from November 7 to 30.

The tribunal had noted that there are expert views on the clear nexus of air pollution with COVID-19 and with increased air pollution, the virus can cause more damage.

The NGT was hearing a plea initiated on its own. An application, filed by the Indian Social Responsibility Network through Santosh Gupta, raising the issue of air pollution by the use of firecrackers in NCR at a time when air quality is at a 'very poor' level and has the potential of worsening the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application 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 of COVID-19 cases due to air pollution.

"Increased pollution may further affect vulnerable groups and increase the fatality rate. Covid cases in Delhi may go up to 15,000 per day, as against the current cases of about 5,000 per day. The use of green crackers will not remedy the situation. The smoke will choke and may create a gas chamber like situation. It will lead to poor visibility, hazy conditions, and asphyxia," the applicant said. (ANI)