The Haryana government imposed a ban with immediate effect on the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in 14 of its districts in the National Capital Region, while restrictions were imposed in other parts.
“There will be a total ban against sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in all 14 NCR districts, namely Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Faridabad, Gurugram, Jhajjar, Jind, Karnal, Mahendergarh, Nuh, Palwal, Panipat, Rewari, Rohtak and Sonepat,” as per the order issued by the State Disaster Management Authority on the regulation of the sale and use of firecrackers in the state.
The directive will also apply to all cities and towns in the state where the average ambient air quality for November (as per last year’s data) comes under “poor” and above categories.
Only green crackers shall be sold in cities and towns where the air quality is in the “moderate” or below category, the order said, adding that the bursting of crackers during Diwali and other festivals such as Gurupurab will be allowed only from 8 pm to 10 pm.
The same will be allowed from 6 am to 8 am for the Chhath festival.
Fireworks will be permitted from 11:55 pm on December 24 to 12:30 am on December 25 and from 11.55 pm on December 31 to 12.30 am on January 1, for Christmas and New Year, it pointed out.
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board will post a list of these cities and towns on its website.
Bursting firecrackers in communities will be promoted in areas with no ban, adding that designated areas will be pre-identified by the authorities concerned.
Only green crackers shall be allowed even for marriages and other occasions, the noted.
The sale of crackers shall only be through licensed traders and e-commerce portals, including Flipkart and Amazon, will not be permitted to sell crackers, it said.
The decision was taken after considering the Covid pandemic and the approaching winter season during which the elderly, children, and people with comorbidities may develop respiratory problems, said the guidelines.
“During Diwali, Gurupurab and Kartik Purnima, Christmas, and New Year, people usually burst crackers which can adversely affect the respiratory health of vulnerable groups, besides, aggravating health condition of COVID-19 positive people in home isolation,” it said.
The State pollution board shall carry out short-term monitoring in the cities for 14 days, commencing immediately, for the parameters namely aluminium, barium, iron apart from regulatory parameters against the short-term Ambient Air Quality Criteria Values (AAQCVs) proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board with regard to bursting of firecrackers.
“This will help in generation of data on pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers and would be helpful for regulation and control of the quality of aluminium, barium and iron used in the manufacture of firecrackers,” said the authority.
All deputy commissioners have been directed to constitute joint inspection teams for enforcing the directions and shall ensure extensive checking and action against violators who shall be punishable under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and other provisions of the law as applicable, it said.