Home / Politics / Policy /  Diwali 2018: Official timing for fireworks and green crackers

New Delhi: Diwali celebrations this year will come with certain caveats. Poor air quality across the country prompted the Supreme Court to come up with immediate measures to curb rising air pollution.

From partially banning fireworks to setting the time limit on bursting of crackers, the court has issued guidelines on almost every aspect of the festival.

Here are certain things you must keep in mind before you go out and engage yourself in celebrations this Diwali.

The mystery that are ‘green crackers’

The apex court on October 23 restricted bursting of conventional firecrackers and allowed only ‘green firecrackers’ to be used on Diwali. Developed by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with eight other government laboratories, the ‘green crackers’, as the name suggests, are not completely eco-friendly.

They are said to be 30% less polluting than conventional firecrackers. They have a chemical formulation that produces water molecules, which reduces emission levels and absorbs dust.

Manufacturing of the the ‘green crackers’ had not yet started and these could only be produced after Diwali, said Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan. It means that the concept of green crackers is redundant for this year’s celebration. The good thing is that the use of ‘green crackers’ is meant only for the Delhi-National Capital Region and not pan-India. People should now stop searching Google for ‘green crackers’ and ‘green crackers near me’.

Defusing the firecrackers:

It is likely that there will no legal sale of crackers in the Delhi-NCR region because no licences have been issued to retailers as no products comply with the rules laid down by the top court. In a first, a person in Delhi has been arrested for bursting crackers.

The Supreme Court has ordered that only “low-polluting" ‘green firecrackers’ that are within the permitted decibel limits be allowed to be sold. The court has completely banned the manufacture, sale and use of so-called joined firecrackers such as ‘ladis’.

E-commerce platforms, including Flipkart and Amazon, have been asked not to sell fireworks online. Any attempt to do so will attract the wrath of the court, including monetary penalties.

The court has a separate condition for Delhi that crackers will be allowed only in designated spots.

The official timings:

The Supreme Court had passed an order setting the time slot for fireworks between 10:00 PM and 12:00 PM. But it had to modify its order for several states keeping in view that several southern and north-eastern states have a different approach and timing towards celebrating Diwali.

In Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and other southern states, firecrackers can be burst from 4 am to 5 am and from 9 pm to 10 pm during Diwali. The states have also been given discretionary powers to fix the time slots. The total duration has been restricted to two hours.

Why the caveats?

The top court issued its ruling on 23rd October 2018, just 15 days before Diwali, in response to a petition on the behalf of three children seeking a ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers in order to protect their health.

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