What about automobiles, SC on pollution by firecrackers

Crackers
Image credit: Deccan Chronicle

The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that air pollution from vehicles may be greater than the pollution from firecrackers. The observation indicates a possible rethinking on banning firecrackers.

The top court wondered why people are running after firecrackers and seeking ban on it when automobiles seem to be a bigger polluter.

The court asked if there is any data to show the proportion of pollution caused by firecrackers. It directed the Centre to come up with a comparative study on pollution caused by firecrackers and automobiles.

Expressing concerns about those who work in firecracker units, the SC said, “what about the rights of the unemployed workers in cracker factories? Can’t leave them hungry. We did not wish to generate unemployment. If the occupation is legal and duly licensed how can you stop it?”

Last year, a petition in the SC had sought a ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country. However, the top court refused to impose a blanket ban, but set conditions for manufacturing and use of firecrackers, and insisted on ‘green crackers’. Later in October 2018 the SC had said that only green crackers are to be manufactured in the country.

The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) were to provide teh chemical formula for green crackers.

Following this development, about 974 firecracker units in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu alone shut shop.

Last month, during the hearing of a plea by firecracker manufacturers, the PESO and the NEERI made a submissions in the court that they need another three months to finalise and pass on the formula for green crackers to manufacturers.

In this background SC’s caustic observation about the unemployment of workers in firecracker units is significant and may be an indication to a changed stance on banning firecrackers.

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