The entire world is reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 Novel Corona Virus Pandemic outbreak and the entire year 2020 has been bringing about a mostly gloomy outlook for all people. After an extended lockdown of close to 8 months, the curfew restrictions are being lifted in phases and life has almost returned to normalcy but there is something called the "new normal" that we all have to be getting used to! The festival season has already dawned upon most parts of India and one of India's most popular festivals - Deepavali, the festival of lights, is just around the corner! This is India's most widely celebrated festival and people don new clothes and ring in the festival of lights with fireworks, sweets & savouries, family gatherings and in a number of other ways. 

Fireworks have always been one of the biggest parts of celebrating Deepavali but it looks like that too is going to change from this year onwards! Many Indian state governments have already banned the sale and use of fireworks to avoid the further spread of COVID. Now, it looks like there could be a blanket ban on the sale and use of fireworks across many parts of India. The National Green Tribunal, which monitors and takes measures to control the pollution levels across India, has now issued a blanket ban on the sale and use of fireworks in the National Capital Region (NCR), including Delhi. This ban comes into effect from the midnight of November 9th till midnight of November 30th! This decision was arrived at to ensure the COVID-19 Pandemic from worsening due to poor air quality.

An NGT bench headed by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, has directed that this ban will apply for all towns and cities across India, where the ambient air quality during November (based on data from last year), falls under the "poor" to "worse" categories! In places where the air quality rating falls under "moderate" or below, only "green crackers" have been allowed to be sold and bursting of these crackers has been restricted to just 2 hours on the days of festivals, as mandated by the respective state governments. The NGT order also states that these restrictions would be optional for places not under the mentioned list and also added that in places where there are already strict restrictions in place, they would continue to take priority! The NGT had earlier held back their order till they heard out the advocates and counsels for pro fireworks as well as the public counsels for the states.