National

Centre rules out total ban on firecrackers

The Centre said crackers could be burst in areas pre-designated by the States governments.

The Centre said crackers could be burst in areas pre-designated by the States governments.  

Suggests others steps to curb pollution

The Centre on Tuesday ruled out a national ban on firecrackers and suggested the production of “green crackers”, community cracker bursting in major cities and a freeze on the production of series crackers or laris as alternative measures to curb pollution during Diwali. The Centre told the Supreme Court that crackers could even be burst in areas pre-designated by the State governments.

Plea for ban

The Supreme Court was hearing a bunch of applications seeking a complete nationwide ban on the use, manufacture, licensing, sale, resale or distribution of firecrackers and sparklers of any kind in a bid to combat pollution on an emergency basis.

In its turn, the Tamil Nadu government, represented by senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, echoed the Centre. Mr. Naphade summed up his arguments in favour of restrained use of firecrackers but not a blanket ban by submitting that whatever human beings do contributes to environmental pollution.

‘Even humans pollute’

He submitted before a Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan that human beings breathe in oxygen but exhale carbon dioxide, which is a pollutant.

The Union Ministry of Environment submitted a five-page affidavit to the Supreme Court suggesting ways to deal with the pollution problem and chalking out short-term measures to combat pollution during Diwali.

The Centre suggested working together with institutions like the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, National Environment Engineering Research Institute, Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to deal with Diwali pollution.

It suggested setting up of Raw Material Characterisation Facilities to check the presence of high contents of unburned material, partially combusted material or poor quality of raw material in gun powder in firecrackers.

The Centre proposed use of “reduced emission firecrackers or improved firecrackers”. These are “low emission sound and light emitting functional crackers with PM reduction by 30-35% and signifcant reduction in nitrogen oxide and sulpher dioxide due to in-situ water generation as dust suppressant and low cost due usage of low cost oxidants”.

The government said PESO could be approached to ensure that fireworks with permitted chemicals and decibel levels are used. PESO could run tests for banned ones like lithium, arsenic, antimony, lead, mercury.

“CPCB and respective state pollution control boards shall carry out short-term monitoring in their cities for 14 days (commencing from seven days prior to Diwali and ending seven days after Diwali for parameters namely Aluminium, Barium, Iron apart from regulatory parameters against short term ambient air quality proposed by CPCB with regard to bursting of firecrackers,” the affidavit said.

The Supreme Court is hearing a bunch of applications seeking a complete nationwide ban on the use, manufacture, licensing, sale, resale or distribution of firecrackers and sparklers of any kind in a bid to combat pollution on an emergency basis.

Cracker manufacturers urged the court to set in motion the suggestions filed by the Centre in August, before the commencement of the Diwali season this year.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:59:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-rules-out-total-ban-on-firecrackers/article24747238.ece

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