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Air pollution: Diwali firecrackers for only 3 hours, orders Bombay HC

Mumbai, Nov 6 : In some significant directions, the Bombay High Court on Monday directed that during Diwali festival, firecrackers can be burst only between 7-10 p.m. in view of the heavy air pollution and poor AQI in the city.

A division bench of Chief Justice D.K. Upadhyaya and Justice Girish Kulkarni have asked all the municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region to adhere to the directives to immediately tackle the AQI problem.

The bench was hearing a suo motu PIL pertaining to the deteriorating air quality in Mumbai which has become a matter of huge concern in the past few weeks, and seeking remedial measures.

The judges observed that there is a need to make a choice now, either for a disease-free environment or burning fire-crackers to celebrate Diwali.

It urged the state government to take a decision as it has become difficult even to walk on the footpaths with the entire city being affected by air pollution and “we cannot depend only on nature”.

Besides the restrictions on firecrackers, the high court has ordered a temporary halt to movement of construction debris to and from construction sites in the city till Diwali. It further said that if the AQI does not improve by Friday, the court would consider even barring construction materials going in or out of sites.

The judges also ordered the implementation of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s recent measures under the Mumbai Air Pollution Mitigation Plan, like erection of metal sheets around construction sites, sprinklers to suppress dust, traffic norms and other regulations to control air pollution.

The court has said that the BMC Ward Officer concerned would be personally held responsible for any lapses and all the Municipal Commissioners of the MMR should not only supervise on the steps being taken but also identify the errant officers.

The court ordered forming a two-member committee comprising the Director of Public Health Services and Director, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to monitor and supervise daily on the actions taken by the MMR municipal corporation authorities.

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