WBPCB appeals to public to refrain from sale & bursting of firecrackers

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Kolkata, Nov 13 (PTI) The West Bengal Pollution Control Board has issued an appeal to public to refrain from sale and bursting of firecrackers during the festive season from Kalipuja to Chhat in view of COVID-19 situation and said those flouting the ban will be prosecuted as per law.

The Calcutta High Court and National Green Tribunal in recent orders banned manufacture, supply, sale and bursting of any type of fireworks in view of the COVID-19 situation.

WBPCB Member-Secretary Rajesh Kumar said on Friday, anyone found to be flouting the ban will be prosecuted as per law and four teams from the PCB in the city and one team from each regional office of the board will be assisting the police in different areas to monitor the situation, especially in high rises and sensitive pockets.

Kumar said apart from the dedicated helpline number of the board, the Poribesh app of the pollution watchdog can be accessed to file an immediate complaint about ban violation.

He said the pollution board is expanding the prohibited list from sound generating fireworks crossing 90 decibels in earlier years to all types of fireworks including those emitting light this year as per the orders of the judiciary and COVID-19 situation.

'We had an interaction with children of different city schools on Thursday where we told them how any type of fireworks, even those emitting lights of different colours, can cause irreparable damage to the environment and trigger breathing health hazards among people. Such fireworks also harm birds and animals like cats and dogs,' he said.

Kumar said last year immediately after Kali Puja/Diwali the PM 10 level went up to 1000 in some parts of city exceeding the 100 level (good) by multiple times.

Similarly, the PM 2.5 level went to 700 in the city just after Kali Puja/Diwali last year exceeding the safe limit of 60, he said.

'We have to ensure such situations don't recur. We have to ensure ambient air quality during this festive season,' he said.

The Calcutta High Court earlier this month banned the use of firecrackers in West Bengal on Diwali, Kali Puja and Chatt in view of the coronavirus pandemic. PTI SUS RG RG