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Debunking myths on SC judgment on firecrackers

The sale of green crackers would be only through licenced traders, the SC said.

The sale of green crackers would be only through licenced traders, the SC said.  

The Supreme Court's recent judgment limiting bursting of firecrackers during Diwali to two hours has not gone down well with active social media users. Social media platforms are abuzz with heated debates on whether firecrackers are the only source of pollution in India, and on why this selective restriction with regard to Diwali alone. Some mischievous social accounts have also posted content that could trigger communal hatred.

Claim: The firecracker restriction is only for the Hindu festival of Diwali

Fact: While the Supreme Court has allowed bursting firecrackers for two hours on Diwali, it has restricted its usage to 30 minutes on Christmas and New Year's Eve (from 11:55 p.m. till 12:30 a.m. only).

Claim: The petitioners are targetting Hinduism and its traditions

Fact: The petition seeking a ban on firecrackers was filed on behalf of three infants. At the time of filing the petition in 2015, two of them were six-month-old infants, while the third one was 14 months old — all were residents of Delhi. Their fathers filed the plea on their behalf as the city was reeling under the worst smog the day following Diwali. The petitioners were concerned about the quality of air they were breathing.

Claim: It is not that Diwali is the only source of pollution

 

Fact: Bursting crackers or celebrating Diwali is not the only source of pollution but data shows worsened air quality in many parts of the country, and especially in Delhi, during Diwali. “During Diwali of 2016, which was celebrated on October 30, 2016, the air quality in Delhi and NCR worsened alarmingly. In fact, certain reports indicated that the air quality standards in early November of that year were the worst in the world,” the Supreme Court has noted. Air pollution had gone up to 29 times above the World Health Organisation standards during Diwali in 2016.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court temporarily banned use of fireworks in the National Capital Region in 2017. That year, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reported that the pollution levels in Delhi were lower compared to the air quality recorded during Diwali in 2016.

The court said that not more than two hours should be given for bursting crackers.

The court said that not more than two hours should be given for bursting crackers.  

 

Claim: We cannot burst crackers for any festivals now.

Fact: Residents of Delhi are allowed to take part in community fireworks events on any festivals and occasions like marriages. There is no such restriction for the rest of the country. However, the verdict states “an endeavour shall be made [States] by them [States] also to explore the feasibility of community firecracking.”

Under existing laws, prior approval is needed for “public display” of fireworks during occasions such as Dusshera, Gurupurba, village fairs or temple festivities. Police Commissioner or District Magistrate is usually the licencing authority. Prior approvals are not needed for private events such as marriages, but the fireworks used must be certified by Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and bursting them is not allowed between 10 pm and 6 am under existing laws.

Claim: There is no such thing as "green crackers"

Fact: "Green crackers" are environment-friendly crackers that cause less harm. According to a report in Chemical & Engineering News, of the American Chemical Society, a key ingredient in several crackers is perchlorate and replacing them with nitrogen-rich materials or nitrocellulose could make them burn cleaner and produce less smoke.

The CSIR laboratories have developed such crackers, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said on October 30. These crackers have to be tested for safety by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO). With Diwali approaching in a few days, it is unlikely that such crackers will hit the market within such a short time span.

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Printable version | Mar 25, 2020 8:41:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/debunking-myths-on-sc-judgment-on-firecrackers/article25388879.ece

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