Firecracker manufacturers in India’s fireworks production hub of Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday said they would file a review plea against the Supreme Court’s order allowing only the use of “green crackers”, PTI reported. The Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association said there “was no such thing”.
On Tuesday, the top court refused to impose a blanket ban on firecrackers, allowing the use of “green crackers”. The top court had said crackers containing barium salt or those producing a lot of noise would be banned. Firecrackers, it added, can be burnt only between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali and other religious festivals, except Christmas Eve and New Year’s night, when they will be allowed between 11.45 pm and 12.45 am.
Green crackers cause minimal toxicity and minimal fumes, according to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute.
K Mariappan, the general secretary of the firework manufacturers’ association, said the top court’s ruling was a positive signal “that there is no harm in buying and bursting firecrackers” but expressed concerns about some of the restrictions that have been imposed. “We need to explain to the court that we cannot produce such firecrackers [green crackers],” Mariappan said. “We may reduce the chemicals used in them, but that would take time.”
Sivakasi meets a significant amount of the domestic demand. “The Rs 6,000-crore fireworks industry, employing about eight lakh people in and around Sivakasi, has been seeing a downturn and it is now a Rs 4,000-crore industry,” Mariappan said.
Mariappan said the ban on barium salt-based crackers, time restrictions and curbs on online sale should be reconsidered. The time restrictions would be difficult to follow as traditions differ in every state, he added. Mariappan said the association would also push to allow manufacturers who have the required permissions to continue selling their products online.
Meanwhile, unidentified officials in the Delhi Police said they do not have the required equipment to measure the decibel levels of firecrackers or the smoke they emit, PTI reported. The top court said station house officers would be held liable if banned firecrackers are sold in areas under their jurisdiction.
The court reserved its verdict in the case on August 28 after a petition sought a nationwide ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers to bring down air pollution. During a previous hearing, the judges 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 had said it would examine if there should be a total or “reasonable” ban on the use of firecrackers.
The court had also said that there was a need to take into account the fundamental right of livelihood of fireworks manufacturers and the right to health of citizens. Manufacturers had told the court that the use of firecrackers should be strictly regulated and not banned outright. They said firecrackers are not the only reason for the increase in air pollution.
The Centre had opposed the petition, and had suggested that the court issue an order to impose rules on the manufacture and sale of high-decibel firecrackers. The government had asked the court to prioritise “green crackers” instead, and had suggested designating specific areas in states for burning firecrackers.