THE BOMBAY High Court on Thursday asked the state government to properly implement the order on firecracker ban during Diwali by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The court disposed of a PIL seeking a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during Diwali, after the state government informed it has issued a notification on the same in nine cities and asked nearly 14 local bodies to decide on the matter.
A vacation bench of Justice A K Menon and S P Tavade was hearing a PIL by Pune-based environmentalist Aniruddha Deshpande, filed through advocates Niranjan Bhavake, Amit Karle and Aseem Naphade, seeking directions to the state and local bodies to abide by the NGT order dated November 9 that bans the use of firecrackers across India due to poor air quality.
In its November 9 order, the NGT, while enforcing a ban in the National Capital Region (NCR), further stated that the direction will also apply to all cities and towns in the country where the average of ambient air quality during November (according to available data from last year) has dropped below the ‘poor’ category.
According to the order, in areas of ‘moderate’ air quality, only “green” crackers can be sold. The NGT further issued specific two-hour windows to burn crackers during festivals like Diwali, Chhath, Christmas Eve and New Year’s.
In view of the NGT directions, the PIL sought a firecracker ban across Maharashtra claiming that the ambient air quality, as per the State Pollution Control Board, was below moderate or poor. The petitioner also raised concerns over deteriorating air quality during the Covid-19 pandemic and sought strict implementation of NGT order.
Responding to the PIL, government pleader Priyabhushan P Kakade told the court that the state government, as per the NGT order, issued a notification related to the sale and use of firecrackers on November 9. Kakade said the NGT order is being implemented “in letter and spirit”.
He said the notification put a total ban on the use of firecrackers in nine areas, including Ambernath, Badlapur, Chandrapur, Dombivli, Nagpur, Thane, Mumbai, Vasai, and Virar. He also said for 14 urban areas, including Akola, Amravati, Aurangabad, Bhiwandi, Jalgaon, Jalna, Kolhapur, Latur, Nashik, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Solapur, Sangli, and Ulhasnagar, municipal corporations had received directions to assess the ambient air quality and take decision as per the NGT order.
After hearing submissions, the court expressed its satisfaction with measures initiated by the state government and asked the state to properly implement them and disposed of the PIL.
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