The Centre on Tuesday opposed a petition that sought a nationwide ban on the sale of firecrackers during Diwali, The Hindu reported. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government suggested that the Supreme Court issue an order to impose rules on the manufacture and sale of high-decibel crackers.

A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan were hearing petitions that demanded a ban on the use, manufacture, licensing, sale, resale or distribution of firecrackers while citing pollution levels.

Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni, representing the government, asked the court to prioritise “green crackers” instead. Nadkarni also suggested designating specific areas to burst firecrackers in states.

The Tamil Nadu government also agreed with the Centre’s stance. Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, on behalf of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government, called for a restrained use of firecrackers. Naphade said even human beings, by their mere existence, pollute the environment by exhaling carbon dioxide.

The court scheduled the next hearing for August 28.

During an earlier hearing, the bench had pointed out that air pollution was a major threat to children, and burning of crackers increases the toxicity in the air during Diwali. The top court said it will examine if there should be a total or “reasonable” ban on the use of firecrackers.

In 2017, the Supreme Court banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and the National Capital Region for a limited period. The bench had said it wanted to use the ban to assess the difference in air quality in the highly-polluted region. However, a month before this, the bench had said that a complete ban would be extreme and stressed the need for a phased reduction in the use of fire crackers.