Mumbai’s civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, on Monday imposed a ban on the use of firecrackers in the city ahead of Diwali, and said this was a measure against the coronavirus, reported PTI.

The civic body has allowed the use of “mild firecrackers” on November 14, and said Mumbai residents may use “anar [a type of firecrackers]” and “phooljhadi [sparklers]” at their private properties on the day. The BMC also appealed to citizens to celebrate Diwali with precautions, and following Covid-19 protocols.

The BMC’s move followed the state government’s appeal to avoid bursting firecrackers this Diwali as the rise in pollution levels could cause breathing ailments among Covid-19 patients.

Earlier in the day, the National Green Tribunal imposed a blanket ban on the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-National Capital region as the air quality remained in the “severe” category for the fifth straight day. The ban, which will be implemented from midnight, will remain in place till November 30.

An air quality index reading between 0 and 50 puts the air quality in “good” category. A reading between 51 and 100 puts it in the “satisfactory” category, between 101 and 200 in the “moderate” category, and between 201 and 300 in the “poor category”. The air quality is said to be “very poor” when the index value falls between 300 and 400. An index value between 400 and 500 puts the quality in the “severe” category.

The NGT, in its order, also directed all states and Union Territories to initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of the potential of aggravation of Covid-19.

Besides the Capital, the Karnataka and Chandigarh governments also took similar decisions on Friday, after Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim and West Bengal’s announcements earlier.

The state government of Haryana had also initially imposed a complete ban on the sale of firecrackers ahead of the festival. However on Sunday, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that people in the state would be allowed to burst firecrackers for two hours on Diwali. Use of firecrackers would be allowed only between 8pm to 10 pm on Diwali and Gurpurab, and from 11.55 pm to 1230 am on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, an order from the Haryana government said.

Last week, the National Green Tribunal had issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and state governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan on the ban of firecrackers from November 7 to November 30 in the interest of public health and environment.

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NGT bans firecrackers in National Capital Region till November 30