“Guidelines are being prepared for the sale and purchase of only green firecrackers in Delhi. Soon, we will issue the directions to departments concerned,” Rai told PTI.
The ‘green crackers’ are not as polluting as the conventional types of firecrackers and they contain at least 30 percent less particulate matters such as Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide.
The CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute was tasked with the job of developing ‘green crackers’. But only a few varieties were available in the market last year due to licensing requirements.
The minister also said the exercise for reconstitution of the Ridge Management Board has been initiated.
The RMB is a high-powered body formed on the directions of the Supreme Court in 1995 to protect the ridge — the green lungs of the city, spread across 7,784 hectares.
Its clearance is required before taking up any development activity in the ridge area.
The minister recently said the AAP government was taking the lead in the fight against air pollution in Delhi-NCR, but neighbouring states were still “not serious” about the issue despite it becoming “more dangerous” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the Delhi government wants cooperation not confrontation with otherstates on the issue of air pollution. “The land has been divided into states but the sky is one.”
Rai also questioned why the Centre was not taking any action against the 11 coal-fired power plants within 300 kilometers of Delhi, which have missed two deadlines to meet new emission norms.
“We had two thermal power plants and we shut them. Why have these 11 power plants not been able to reduce emissions? What’s the reason? Why action is not being taken against the brick kilns operating in nearby areas using outdated technologies,” he said.
There are more than 1,640 such brick kilns in Uttar Pradesh,161 in Haryana and 164 Rajasthan within 300 kilometers of Delhi.