Home / Politics / Policy /  How SC order on firecrackers will affect Diwali, other festivities

The SC on Tuesday refused to impose a nationwide blanket ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers. In its verdict, the court said only “green firecrackers" would be allowed to be sold in Delhi/NCR. It also set time slots for bursting firecrackers during festivities.

What does the Supreme Court order say on firecrackers?

Ruling out a blanket ban on firecrackers in Delhi-National Capital Region, the Supreme Court has permitted the sale of “green crackers". However, it has restricted the bursting of crackers across India to two hours—from 8pm to 10pm—on Diwali and other festivities, including weddings. The apex court set a separate slot—11.55pm to 12.30am—for bursting crackers during Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations throughout the country. Online sale of crackers has been banned. Sale of joined firecrackers, popularly called laris, is also prohibited.

What are green crackers?

Green crackers are “reduced emission crackers". According to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, firecrackers that cause 30-35% lower emission of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and 35-40% lower emission of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide are categorized as “green crackers". The products have low content of aluminium. Use of barium salt and ash as a drying agent is banned for such crackers. The clinical composition of fireworks will be reviewed by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, which would submit its report within two weeks.

How is the ban likely to impact the industry?

Firecracker manufacturers had opposed the ban, as it would lead to economic hardship to many casual workers employed in the sector. A sizeable loss of revenue is also likely.

How does bursting of firecrackers impact the environment?

Bursting of firecrackers leads to a spike in pollution, as the air quality dips to “very poor" levels. There is a significant rise in the levels of PM10 and PM2.5, known to cause or aggravate health hazards such as asthma, coughing, bronchitis, nervous system breakdown and cognitive impairment. Aluminium in firecrackers may cause skin problems, while barium salts emit poisonous gases causing respiratory problems. Noise pollution due to firecrackers has also been a key concern.

Who were the petitioners?

The petition was filed in September 2015 on behalf of three infants—two six-month olds and a 14-month old. Their fathers represented the petitioners, expressing concern over the health of the children. While deteriorating air quality affects population across all age groups, the impact on children was especially highlighted, as they are more vulnerable to long-term exposure. The petitioners had sought a ban on the bursting of crackers and minor explosives.

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