The National Green Tribunal has decided to consider measures for improving the air quality in as many as 18 States and Union Territories, in addition to Delhi NCR.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel took the decision on Wednesday and expanded the scope of proceedings in a batch of petitions seeking remedial action against pollution by use of fire crackers in NCR.
"The scope of proceedings may need to be extended beyond NCR so as to suggest that in all the concerned States where air quality is not satisfactory may consider taking action on the pattern of action taken by the States of Odisha and Rajasthan," the Tribunal said.
The titled of the case has now been changed to "Tribunal on its own motion".
The Bench said that it may have to consider a direction to prohibit use of fire crackers during the period air quality is beyond a threshold in 122 non-attainment cities (where air quality as per record maintained by the CPCB is generally beyond norms).
[Note: The State Governments of Odisha and Rajasthan have issued a notification prohibiting the sale and use of firecrackers.]
Accordingly, the Bench also comprised of Judicial Member SK Singh and Expert Members SS Garbyal and Nagin Nanda, sought response from the Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
Earlier, the Tribunal had issued notices to the Governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
"Accordingly, we consider it appropriate to issue a notice to all the States/UTs where the above cities fall, in addition, to notice already issued to the Governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Notice need not be issued to the States of Odisha and Rajasthan in view of the notification issued by the said States. To all other States/UTs where the above cities fall, notice may be issued by e-mail to the concerned Chief Secretaries returnable for tomorrow" the order states.
Earlier this week, the NGT had issued notices to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in the matter. It had decided to examine whether the use of firecrackers may be prohibited in the National Capital Region (NCR) from November 7 till November 30, 2020, in the interest of public health and environment.
"Fire crackers emit poisonous gases like SO2, NOX, CO as well as the metal besides creating noise. In the given climatic conditions, this may result in respiratory/pulmonary diseases, diabetic, hypertension and other diseases.
There are also expert views on clear nexus of air pollution with Covid-19.5 With increased air pollution, virus can cause more damage," it had observed.
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