Punjab government on Tuesday announced a two-hour window for bursting green firecrackers on the occasion of Diwali and Gurpurb across the state. Due to poor air quality index (AQI) levels, the state government has imposed a blanket ban in Jalandhar and Mandi Gobindgarh from Wednesday midnight onwards.

The Punjab Department of Science, Technology, and Environment issued an order governing the manufacturing, stock, distribution, sale and use of joined firecrackers also known as laries in Punjab; and only green crackers would be allowed for sale and use.

According to the government order, cracker bursting is permitted between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali. On Christmas and New Year's Eve, the duration of the fireworks has been limited to 35 minutes.

On Christmas Eve people can burst crackers from 11:55 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and on New Year's Eve, from 11:55 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

"Only green crackers (those crackers that do not include barium salts or antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic, lead, or strontium, chromate will be allowed for sale and use in Punjab", according to the report.

Only licenced traders will be able to sell firecrackers, according to government regulation.

Also, e-commerce websites like Flipkart, Amazon etc are ordered not to accept any online orders of crackers from the state of Punjab. Punjab Pollution Control Board has been asked to monitor the bursting of crackers in the key cities.

“Any violation of the directions aforementioned will invite immediate penal action under Section 15 of the environment Act, 1986 besides legal action under section 188 of the IPC and other provisions.”

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What are green crackers?

Green crackers are low-emission fireworks that the Supreme Court has approved for modest celebrations during festivals. According to the Supreme Court's instructions, it is made using less harmful raw materials. Instead of toxic compounds like lithium, arsenic, barium, and lead, the green crackers release water vapour, which prevents dust from rising.

Firecrackers were prohibited by the government last year. The use is being controlled this year by striking a balance between the pandemic situation and the economic impact on small traders.

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