Last month, amid deteriorating air quality levels in the north India, the Supreme Court had allowed the use of “green” firecrackers for Diwali, but only for two hours, between 8 pm and 10 pm. However, since there were no such “green” firecrackers, which have reduced sound, emission and chemicals, available for sale in the market, illegal firecrackers went off. Several local residents said that the top court’s order was flouted brazenly as crackers were burst till wee hours of Thursday pushing the air quality to ‘very poor’ and ‘severe levels’.
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Pollution indices recorded grim figures post-Diwali showing deteriorating Air Quality. Some places in Delhi recorded particulate matter level as high as 1,800 micrograms per cubic metre against the acceptable limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre. Delhi’s air quality remained in the severely polluted category till late afternoon on Thursday, and eased only slightly as temperature increased and wind helped disperse pollutants. Scientists at the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research said the air quality would improve in the coming two days, but would still be in the ‘very poor’ range. The Air Quality Index (AQI) at several places in the two states of Punjab and Haryana was recorded as ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ on Thursday morning. The pollution-regulating authorities, however, said the air quality remained better than what it was post-Diwali last year.
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Though the Supreme Court had told police that station house officers would be held responsible if banned firecrackers were sold or the two-hour time slot violated. But such firecrackers were indeed sold on the sly in many places in Delhi.
Crackdown on Firecracker dealers. Thus, the police across major cities in North India struggled to enforce the Supreme Court’s guidelines on bursting of firecrackers on Wednesday.
In Delhi, police registered 562 cases for “disobedience of order” (Section 188 of IPC) and arrested 310 people on Diwali night.
Delhi’s neighbouring suburban district of Gautam Buddh Nagar, also a victim of deteriorating Air Quality, registered 58 cases under Section 188 of the IPC.
Those arrested were later granted bail. Appropriate legal action was also taken against 24 juveniles under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act for not abiding by the Supreme Court’s direction.
– In Chandigarh, 34 people were arrested for bursting firecrackers beyond the permissible limits and eight persons were arrested for illegal sale.
– In Gurgaon, six cases have been registered against both vendors, who were found selling crackers without proper licences, and people who violated the SC order
– In Rohtak, four shopkeepers were arrested for selling firecrackers in violation of the court’s orders.
– In Ludhiana, police filed 12 FIRs on Wednesday against unidentified persons for violating the Supreme Court’s order prohibiting the burning of crackers on Diwali after 10 pm.
– In Assam, over 150 people were arrested for violating the court’s guidelines on firecrackers,
– In Kolkata, 306 people were arrested.