The NGT order comes amidst speculation of a second wave of coronavirus pandemic just ahead of Diwali
Not just Delhi, but also all other Indian cities where the average air quality last November was "poor" or "worse" will see a firecracker-less Diwali this year. The National Green Tribunal has banned firecrackers in all such cities from November 9 to November 30.
The NGT order comes amidst speculation of a second wave of coronavirus pandemic just ahead of Diwali, one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India.
In places where the air quality falls in the "moderate" category, the NGT has permitted usage of "green crackers" with a time restriction of two hours. Selling of non-green crackers has also been banned across the country.
The NGT has banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and adjoining areas from the midnight of November 9 to November 30. Flouting the ban will invite legal action, the tribunal said.
A complete ban has been imposed in Delhi to prevent the air quality which is now in the "severe" zone from getting worse.
"At other places, ban/restrictions are optional for the authorities but if there are more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same will prevail," the bench said.
The NGT also directed all states and Union Territories to initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of the potential of aggravation of COVID-19.
"Celebration by crackers is for happiness. It is not to celebrate deaths and diseases. Happiness of a few at the cost of lives of others is not the value in Indian society which stands for happiness and well-being of all," the bench added.
The tribunal directed chief secretaries and DGPs of all states and UTs to issue and circulate orders with appropriate enforcement guidelines to all district magistrates, superintendents of police and state pollution control boards.
Before the NGT order, states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Delhi have already imposed a complete ban on sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers.