The National Green Tribunal Monday issued notice to Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and four state governments on whether use of fire crackers be banned from November 7-30 in the interest of public health and environment. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel sought response from MoEF, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Police Commissioner of Delhi and the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The NGT also appointed senior advocate Raj Panjwani and advocate Shibhani Ghosh to assist it as amicus curiae in the matter. The tribunal was hearing a plea by Indian Social Responsibility Network, filed through Santosh Gupta, seeking action against pollution by use of fire crackers in NCR during the time air quality is unsatisfactory with potential of severity of COVID-19 pandemic.
The application referred to the statement of the Union Health Minister and the Health Minister of Delhi that during festive season there will be rise of COVID-19 cases due to air pollution. Increased pollution may further affect the vulnerable groups and increase the fatality rate. COVID-19 cases in Delhi may go up to 15,000 per day, as against the current cases of about 5,000 per day.
Use of green crackers will not remedy the situation. The smoke will choke and may create gas chamber like situation. It will lead to poor visibility, hazy conditions and asphyxia, the plea said.