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Mumbai Air Pollution
In response to the growing concerns over air pollution in Mumbai, the Bombay High Court has taken a significant step by imposing time restrictions on the bursting of firecrackers. The court’s decision comes as a response to the alarming deterioration of the air quality index (AQI) in the city. While the court did not order an outright ban on firecrackers, it has set a specific time frame for their use, hoping to strike a balance between cultural festivities and environmental well-being.
Timing for Firecrackers
Starting Tuesday, November 7, Mumbai residents are allowed to burst firecrackers only between 7 PM and 10 PM. The decision was made by a division bench comprising Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice GS Kulkarni. This directive aims to address the city’s deteriorating air quality while acknowledging the importance of cultural celebrations.
During the court hearing, the bench faced the complex challenge of finding a middle ground between the right to practice one’s religion, as enshrined in the Constitution, and the pressing need to combat air pollution. Chief Justice Upadhyaya emphasized the need for a choice between a disease-free environment and festive celebrations. The court recognized the adverse effects of air pollution on the city’s residents, making everyday activities like morning walks nearly impossible. The court acknowledged that despite theoretical plans for combating pollution, little had been achieved on the ground.
Complete Ban on Firecrackers?
While a complete ban on firecrackers was deemed challenging due to varying public opinions and legal rights, the court found a viable solution in imposing time limits. This decision ensures that firecrackers are used within the specified timeframe of 7 PM to 10 PM during the Diwali festival. Municipal authorities have been tasked with enforcing this directive, underlining the importance of adherence to the court’s order.
Controlling Construction Material Transportation
The Bombay High Court’s proactive measures to address air pollution also extend to the construction sector. The court has directed authorities to ensure that all construction materials, transported to and from infrastructure project sites, are carried in covered trucks or mixer plants. This measure aims to limit the release of dust particles into the atmosphere, a significant contributor to air pollution.
Additionally, the court has issued a warning that if air quality in the city does not show improvement by a certain deadline, it may consider implementing a total ban on the transportation of construction materials within the city. This stern approach emphasizes the court’s commitment to safeguarding the health and well-being of Mumbai’s residents.
Mumbai Air Pollution: ‘Air Pollution Mitigation Plan’
To further address air pollution, the Bombay High Court has called for the strict implementation of the air pollution mitigation plan announced by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in March 2023. The court emphasized that the plan should be executed in its “true letter and spirit.” To ensure compliance, the court has made the Assistant Municipal Corporation of each ward personally liable and accountable for any lapses. This measure ensures that accountability is placed on those responsible for overseeing air quality improvement at the local level.
Extending the Plan Beyond Mumbai
Recognizing that air pollution is not confined by city boundaries, the court has urged other municipal corporations around Mumbai to follow similar air pollution mitigation plans. The court also called on the BMC to ensure that metal sheets erected for construction comply with guidelines regarding their height, effectively containing the spread of construction-related dust.
You can read complete explanation of Court Order on the website of Live Law on the link: HC Order to Ban on Firecrackers
Preventing Dust from Construction Sites
To minimize the dispersion of dust from construction sites, the court directed the BMC to ensure regular water sprinkling by project proponents or developers across the city. This practical measure helps keep dust levels in check and minimizes its impact on air quality.
In conclusion, the Bombay High Court’s decision to impose time restrictions on firecrackers, along with its comprehensive measures to combat air pollution, reflects a multi-pronged approach to improving air quality in Mumbai. The court’s commitment to protecting public health and the environment is evident in its strict directives. These actions underline the importance of striking a balance between cultural traditions and environmental responsibility. Mumbai residents can look forward to a safer and healthier environment, thanks to these legal measures.
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