Air Pollution: NGT bans firecrackers in Delhi NCR & most northern states

Bursting or selling of firecrackers will be prohibited till December 1 in most of the northern states including Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), directed National Green Tribunal (NGT), on November 9. The NGT imposed a ban on firecrackers citing a reason that it will add to the already critical state of air quality in the region. This will also increase the susceptibility of getting infected from COVID-19.

The green bench, in its 58-page order, clearly mentioned that the ban is applicable to all the cities or towns where the air quality index (AQI) dropped to ‘poor’ category or worse in November as per previous year’s data.

Delhi’s Recurring Pollution Tale

The national capital, on November 9, witnessed the worst air quality of the season as of now. The average AQI in Delhi was recorded 477 on a scale of 500 which is highest the since November 3, 2019. What is even worse, Delhi recorded AQI at 491 later in the day, at 11 pm.

According to the experts, the meteorological conditions are not apt for dispersal of pollutants in the air as with arriving winters, the temperature is dropping and slow wind speed makes it worse.

Farm fires in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana are being named as the major contributor to the pathetic air the national capital breathes. On Monday, November 9, as many as 5,000 stubble burning incidences have been reported in Punjab and Haryana. According to data from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, The farm fires contribute nearly to a hefty 40 per cent of the PM2.5 concentration in the Delhi air.

However, with a strict ban on firecrackers by the Government of Delhi and now, directions from NGT supporting the ban pose a ray of hope for controlling pollution levels in the city. Delhi Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, announced a penalty under the Air Act for the ones found violating the ban. As per the announcement, defaulters will face a jail term for six years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

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