The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared surprised at the non-existence of the “green crackers” that it had asked to be used while banning fireworks last Diwali, reported The Hindu. The court said it had issued the order under the belief that such an alternative exists. “Where are the green crackers?” the court asked.
The Centre told the court that the chemical composition of eco-friendly fireworks had not yet been finalised and that the National Environment Engineering Research Institute needed three more months to finish examining the matter, reported The Times of India. A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri pulled up the institute for the delay despite an assurance given in August 2018.
The court said the original order asking for green crackers was intended to check pollution as well as ensure that livelihoods of workers in the industry are not affected. “Manufacturers can produce such crackers only after you are able to provide them the chemical composition,” the bench said.
“Some way has to be found out, if you delay like this then we are nowhere,” Sikri said, according to India Legal. “Some balancing act to protect livelihood of workers and also ensure no pollution on account of cracker bursting.”
An association of firecracker manufacturers told the court that the delay was affecting the industry and its workers. The ban has hit the livelihood of four lakh workers and resulted in the closure of 974 manufacturing units in Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi alone, according to The Hindu.
The court adjourned the hearing to February 27 and asked the Centre for a timeline to decide the chemical composition of green crackers.
On October 23, the Supreme Court had ruled that only eco-friendly fireworks would be allowed between for two hours on religious festivals such as Diwali. Soon after, firecracker manufacturers moved the court, saying that “there was no such thing” as eco-friendly fireworks. Union Minister for Environment and Forest Harsh Vardhan had also admitted that “green firecrackers” would not be available in time for Diwali.
Green crackers cause minimal toxicity and minimal fumes, according to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute.