Where are the green crackers, asks SC

Four months after it banned polluting firecrackers, the Supreme Court on Wednesday realised that the concept of non-polluting ‘green crackers’ remains a non-starter, while its ban has affected the livelihood of four lakh workers and resulted in the closure of 974 firecracker units in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, alone.

“Where are the green crackers,” a Bench, led by Justice A.K. Sikri, asked the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI). The court refused to accept submissions that the finalisation of the formula for green crackers and passing it on to manufacturers would take another three months.

Justice Sikri said the October 23 ban and the insistence on green crackers were meant to stop pollution and, at the same time, ensure that livelihoods were not affected. He observed that the court had ordered the ban under the belief that a formula for non-polluting crackers was in place.

The case was scheduled urgently for post-lunch, and the court asked the Central government to be present. However, at 2 p.m., the case was adjourned to February 26.

On October 31, the Supreme Court had, on an application from Tamil Nadu, clarified that only green crackers could be made henceforth across the country. This meant that no polluting crackers could be made after the factories sent out the existing stock. The mandatory manufacture and sale of green crackers was implemented in the National Capital Region with immediate effect from last year itself.

Through the ban, the court attempted to strike a balance between the interests of the firecracker industry and the right to public health by allowing licensed traders to make and sell “green” and reduced-emission or “improved” crackers, while banning those that were loud and toxic to man, animal and the environment. The court held that only green or improved crackers would be used during religious festivals and other occasions, including weddings.

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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 11:28:00 pm |