The National Green Tribunal has banned the burning of tyres at public places, such as roads and areas surrounded by residential buildings and also during road protests by political and religious groups as it is likely to cause health hazard.

The Western Zone Bench of NGT was hearing the petition against Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the state of Maharashtra, filed by a group of 14 lawyers who argued that the burning of tyres on the street creates toxic smoke by posing serious threat to the surrounding environment by increasing air pollution.

The petition had specifically sought relief by banning the burning during agitations carried out by political and religious groups. “It is unfortunate that no party carries ‘civic sense’ and these political parties don’t bother for environment and democratic way of behaviour,” said the petition, adding that every group resort to this mode of protest every time they hit the streets.

“There has been complete absence of any rule regarding environment protection when it comes to burning of tyres on the streets,” said Asim Sarode, one of the petitioners in the case, adding that the order signifies an affirmative step in the direction of impeding air pollution.

As per the tribunal’s ad-interim order, the local police shall take immediate cognizance of burning of tyres. “Any dereliction in the directions given as above may entail penal consequences as enumerated in section 26 of the National Green tribunal Act, 2010,” said the order.

According to section 26, the failure to follow this order may result the penalty of up to Rs 10 crore, which may be extended to up to Rs 25 crores and/or imprisonment of three years.

Mr. Sarode said that the order can only be challenged in the Supreme Court and can become a landmark decision across the country.