New Delhi: In a bid to deal with dangerously high level of air pollution in Delhi, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered ban on the sale of firecrackers in the entire National Capital Region (NCR).
No fresh licences will be given to sell firecrackers and no renewal of licences will be made until further orders. So far, traders were allowed to sell if they had a licence to do so.
“Keeping the grave air quality in mind, we can intervene to suspend the licence. The licences of the existing firecrackers sellers will be suspended and the government will not issue new licences to any seller in this region,” the Court said.
The sale of firecrackers will be banned until further orders from the apex Court.
The order came amid constantly increasing levels of air pollution in Delhi after Diwali festival, with the Particulate Matter (PM) recorded about 40 times above the safe limits in the first week of November.
The apex Court, however, said that there was no restriction on bursting crackers as it would be difficult to implement and monitor it.
The court also asked Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to file a reply within three months regarding harmful effects of firecrackers.
“The Central Pollution Control Board will study the harmful effects of the materials used in the manufacture of crackers. We want to know whether they are carcinogenic,” the Court ruled.
The Court was hearing petitions for banning fire crackers in NCR for some time. Environmentalists had sought the intervention of the apex court in passing orders for ban on sale of firecrackers.
Last month, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Centre needed to intervene to mitigate the alarming levels of smog in the national capital.
“Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity. The Delhi government has very few methods at its disposal and the Centre needs to intervene,” Kejriwal had said.
He said vehicular restriction measures such as odd-even were not able to bring down pollution.
“Fireworks during Diwali added to the critical air pollution levels. We need to hire an agency with the help of Centre to study the sources of pollution in Delhi afresh. The situation is really bad,” he observed.