The Supreme Court on Friday declined a petition to include barium as an ingredient in fireworks while upholding the ban on the sale and ignition of joint crackers.
A bench consisting of Justices A.S. Bopanna and M.M. Sundresh directed the authorities and the Delhi Police to enforce the ban on firecrackers in the national capital.
Justice Bopanna, who delivered the verdict, concluded by extending warm Diwali wishes to all parties involved.
‘Filing cases is not the solution’, When the court was reserving the case for judgment, the bench expressed the view that filing cases against individuals bursting crackers during festivals like Diwali might not be the ultimate solution to the health and environmental risks posed by fireworks.
“Cases against individuals bursting firecrackers may not be the solution. You will have to identify the source from which they (firecrackers) are originating and put a stop to it,” Justice Bopanna advised the Delhi Police.
The court was responding to a report submitted by Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati on behalf of the Delhi Police regarding the number of cases filed against the sale, storage, and number of arrests related to crackers, among other statistics.
According to police statistics presented in the apex court, from 2016 to August 31, 2023, 926 cases were registered for the sale and storage of firecrackers, while 3120 cases were filed for bursting crackers.
The police had apprehended 2616 individuals for bursting crackers and 740 for sale and storage.
The police reported the seizure of 51692.413 kg of firecrackers in Delhi between 2016 and August 2023.
Despite a Supreme Court ban, the influx of crackers continued. The National Green Tribunal and the Delhi government had also prohibited the sale and ignition of firecrackers.
However, amicus curiae, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, asserted that crackers continued to enter the National Capital, especially in the run-up to the Diwali season in November.
Ms. Bhati assured that the Delhi Police was prioritizing efforts to prevent the sale, storage, and ignition of fireworks. District police chiefs had established flying squads, unauthorised stocks had been seized and sealed, and an awareness campaign was ongoing.
In a previous hearing, Ms. Bhati, also representing the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), stated that the government entity was taking steps to expedite the adoption of green crackers.
An affidavit filed by PESO indicated that fireworks manufacturers licensed by the government body had already been instructed to adhere to the Supreme Court’s directives on green crackers. This included conducting emission tests on the green crackers through CSIR-NEERI.
Pollution-Free Green Crackers is Myth
Green crackers are often promoted as being less polluting compared to traditional ones, as they are low-emission fireworks devoid of harmful chemicals such as arsenic, sulfur nitrates, sodium, barium, and lead.
The green crackers were developed in 2018 by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI). In the retail market, all green crackers bear the CSIR mark.
These crackers are designed with alternative raw materials that are less detrimental to the environment. However, it’s important to note that both green and traditional crackers contribute to pollution, and individuals should refrain from using both.