Fire crackers ban in NCR: Responsibility for clean air lies on all, says ASSOCHAM

NEW DELHI, Oct 21: Expressing concern over poor implementation of the Supreme Court ban order on sale of fire crackers in the Delhi?NCR, the apex industrial organization, ASSOCHAM on Saturday said that ensuring a clean environment should be a combined responsibility of the Centre, state governments, civil society and public at large and not of the apex court alone.
“The economic interest of the traders and the manufacturers was involved; but once the Supreme Court had banned sale of fire crackers, the enforcement of the order should have been ensured by the Union Environment Ministry, Delhi Government, state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the entire National Capital Region,” the ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat said.
Though there was a voluntary compliance in the select areas, the ban was largely defied through sale of fire crackers on the sly inside the localities, with the result that though the damage to the environment this year was less than the previous few years, the air pollution in the NCR was still 18 times the limit allowed.
The levels of PM 2.5 had risen, though there was a consolation of slightly less damage. “Learning from the experience this year, there is a need for a well-coordinated action plan to control the air pollution not only during Diwali but throughout the year, more so during the winter when the sky is overcast with haze and toxic gases, severely damaging the health of millions of people, particularly the children,” the chamber said.
The public at large has to be involved much more vigorously and the message must go home about the ill effects of toxic fire crackers. “In fact, the entire government machinery should prepare an action plan in consultation with the civil society, traders, crackers manufacturers.
The festivities can be rejoiced without burning the damaging fire crackers; crackers with less pollutants can be manufactured with technological support to the manufacturers”.  This action plan should be presented before the Apex court along with the National Green Tribunal. This is no reason why a pragmatic win:win  solution cannot be found.  As far as possible, the last minute situations should be avoided so that any move to clean pollution has a larger support of public and policy makers, the chamber said.       (UNI)


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