Kolkata, Oct 28 : The West Bengal pollution Control Board (WBPCB) issued a directive banning in the state all kinds of fireworks, except "green fireworks" that can be burst for two hours from 8 p.m.
on Diwali and other festivals.
The directive issued by the WBPCB mentioned that only green crackers can be sold in the state and bursting of such firecrackers shall be allowed for two hours -- between 8 p.m.
and 10 p.m. -- during Diwali and for two hours on Chhath Puja from 6-8 a.m. and 35 minutes during Christmas and New Year's Eve from 11.55 p.m. to 12.30 a.m.
"Considering the fact that bursting of fire crackers releases harmful chemicals, having severe impact on the respiratory health of vulnerable groups and the fact that such pollutants aggravate health conditions of Covid-19 positive persons and persons staying in home isolation and considering the latest assessment of the air quality across the state of West Bengal," the order stated.
The Pollution Control Board in their order said, "There shall be a complete ban on the sale and bursting of all kinds of firecrackers, except green crackers in the state of West Bengal (and) bursting of such crackers shall be allowed for two hours during Diwali."
Green fireworks, also called "green crackers", are low-emission fireworks that are made of materials that cause less pollution.
But since the pollution control board has not recommended any list of green fireworks, activists and others fear the order will only facilitate the sale and use of banned items in the guise of green fireworks.
Asked about green crackers, a senior official of the pollution control board said no such list was with the board.
"We are not supposed to have any. According to a Supreme Court order, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) are clearing a list of green crackers," said an official of the board.