NGT cracker ban goes up in smoke
New Delhi, Nov 15: Some people in Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad burst firecrackers to mark Diwali on Saturday, defying the ban on their sale and use in the National Capital Region (NCR) imposed due to rising air pollution.
The development came even as the average 24-hour air quality in Noida and Ghaziabad plunged to "severe" level, while it stayed "very poor" in Greater Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad -- the five satellite cities of Delhi in the NCR.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has recently imposed a "total ban" on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the NCR from November 9 midnight to November 30 midnight amid worsening air quality.
Ghaziabad resident Amita Sinha said there was non-stop sound of firecrackers throughout Saturday.
A resident of Raj Nagar extension, Sinha said even her dog Monty, a dachshund, remained jittery due to the loud noise every now and then.
"Seems like the onus of following the NGT rules and caring about the environment is only on law-abiding citizens because those who violate law anyway go scot-free," she told PTI.
Aniket mentioned an incessant bursting of firecrackers in his area of residence -- Indirapuram, while the situation has been similar in Vasundhara area as well.
Akhilesh Upadhyay, a resident of Nehru Nagar, said, "Despite the NGT's ban, some people are hell-bent on firing crackers not realising the harm they are doing to the environment and in turn, to all of us."
In Noida and Greater Noida, too, bursting of firecrackers continued unabated,, according to some residents that PTI spoke to.
"No one seems bothered about pollution. I could hear crackers being burst all day from inside my home," Noida Sector 21 resident Savita Mehta said.
Sector 19 resident Shivang Jain said, "The celebration in the form of firecrackers has been continuous since the evening in his area."
Manish Kumar described a scene of cracker rockets going up in the sky of Greater Noida (West), also known as Noida Extension, and spreading light in various hues along with toxic fumes.
Ram Singh, a resident Sector Omnicron 1 in Greater Noida, said, "By the sheer sound of it, it felt like people set more crackers afire this year than last year."
The NGT's ban was also defied by some people in Noida's Sector 7X, a collective of sectors from 73 to 78, that houses several high-rises and thousands of people, according to locals.
"Crackers are being fired in some societies as well as on main roads in 7X. Not in all societies but some definitely, and it has been continuous today," Sector 77 resident Amit Gupta said.
Noida's Sector 92 resident Sushil Jain said some people burst crackers in his area on Friday also, but the intensity grew on Saturday.
The situation was no different in Haryana's Faridabad and Gurgaon, which had registered "very poor" air quality on Saturday.
"There's no way one cannot hear the sound of fire crackers today, and all this despite the ban," Namrata Banik, who lives in Sector 42 of Faridabad, said.
She said her friend's daughter, who joined them for Kali Puja, was thrilled at the sight of some people setting "anaar" alight although she detested the sound of other crackers.
"Quite a sight that some people are firing crackers despite the ban and so much discussion about the harm they do to the environment," Gurgaon Sector 58 resident Kashika Gulati said.