Minister for Environment and Forest Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said that the Supreme Court order on firecrackers should be strictly followed, reported PTI. The Union minister, however, admitted that “green firecrackers” would not be available this festival season.

The Supreme Court on October 23 had ruled that only eco-friendly fireworks would be allowed between 8 pm and 10 pm on religious festivals such as Diwali. Soon after, firecracker manufacturers had moved the court, saying “there was no such thing” as eco-friendly fireworks.

A statement from the environment ministry said: “Only eco-friendly fire crackers would be sold after proper authorisation has been obtained from [the] Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation. Any other kind of firecrackers would not be permitted to be sold in the NCR region as per the order of the Supreme Court.”

The ministry will deploy 44 teams in the National Capital Region to ensure compliance with the order, the statement said according to PTI. “Field teams will be supported by the local police to ensure compliance and safety. All the DMs and MCD commissioners will be involved in the campaign and ensure that quick action is taken on the cases of violations reported by field teams. In case of repeat violations, criminal proceedings against defaulters will be initiated.”

The Supreme Court order was in response to petitions seeking measures to clean the National Capital Region’s dirty air. Meanwhile, the Ghaziabad district magistrate on Tuesday ordered that all construction activity be stopped and all polluting units be shut down. The order is effective until November 10 for construction work and November 30 for polluting units.

The air quality in the NCR on Wednesday morning ranged between “very poor” and “severe”, according to Central Pollution Control Board. It had fallen to “severe” for the first time this season on Tuesday. The overall Air Quality Index of Delhi in the afternoon was recorded at 366. At 1 pm, Anand Vihar recorded an AQI of 416, Bawana 440, Narela 414, while it was 373 at RK Puram, 369 at Punjabi Bagh and 387 in Sonia Vihar.

Ten areas in the city recorded “severe” air quality while 23 recorded “very poor” quality, according to CPCB data.

An unidentified official with the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research said there was a slight improvement in the air quality because of faster wind speed in the morning. “Early morning winds picked up, which came as respite and dispersed particles rapidly and pulled back air quality towards very poor range,” said the official.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority on Tuesday said it would ban private vehicles from plying in Delhi from November 1 if the air quality worsens.