The National Green Tribunal has instructed all states, including Delhi to issue guidelines on manufacture, sale and burning of firecrackers as these were a massive source of pollution.
The direction came on a PIL by three Delhi residents which claimed that over 6.2 lakh deaths occur each year in the country due to the extremely poor quality of air that people are forced to breathe.
The green panel also asked all concerned authorities to create social awareness, especially in schools and colleges, with regard to the adverse impacts of indiscriminate burning of crackers on public health.
"We direct all state governments, NCT of Delhi also to issue guidelines with regard to manufacturing, sale and burning of crackers in the jurisdiction of respective States/NCT of Delhi."
Such directions must be passed after taking into consideration that the crackers, if permitted, are of the nature which would generate least smoke and produce least noise. It should be within the prescribed parameters," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The directions came on the plea of Diya Kapur, Shyel Trehan and Manjira Dasgupta seeking ban on fireworks which did not conform to "green standards" and fixing the time limit of burning crackers from 7 PM to 9 PM on Diwali every year.
Alleging that the major cause of air pollution during Diwali was low-cost Chinese fireworks, it sought action and hefty fines on those selling such crackers despite a ban.It has sought detailed directions against other sources of air pollution like stubble burning, dust and vehicular pollution.
The matter is listed for next hearing on November 21.