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The Pollution Control Board Assam (PCBA) has banned the sale and use of “all kinds of firecrackers” in Guwahati till November 30, 2020.
The PCBA issued the notification on Tuesday, a move prompted by the recent directives of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to 18 states, including Assam, asking the states to not burst firecrackers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NGT has said that air pollution “is an important cofactor increasing the risk of mortality from COVID-19.”
The PCBA stated that the bursting of firecrackers releases copious amounts of harmful chemicals, which severely impact the respiratory health of vulnerable groups and that such pollutants could further aggravate health conditions of COVID-19 positive persons, including those in home isolation.”
“Therefore, in the exercise of the powers conferred under Section 31(A) of the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Rule 35 of the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Assam Rule, 1991, and keeping in view the need of public interest to curb high air pollution in Guwahati, which is bracketed as “poor” quality in Air Quality Index, the PCBA hereby directs total ban on the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the Guwahati city from the midnight of November 9-10, 2020, to the midnight of November 30-December 1, 2020, to be reviewed thereafter,” the PCBA notification said.
The order also stated that in other areas except for Guwahati, only green crackers could be sold and “bursting would be allowed only for two hours during Diwali from 8 pm to 10 pm; during Chhath Puja from 6 am to 8 am and during Christmas and New Year’s Eve from 11:55 pm to 12:30 am.”
However, in contrary to this, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took to his official Twitter handle on Tuesday evening and posted the following tweet, “With the improvement in COVID-19 situation in Assam, we plan no restrictions on the celebration of Diwali, including use of firecrackers. However, kindly remember, self-restraint is the key to combating COVID-19.”
(Edited by Andre Kongri)