Delhi’s first cracker-less Diwali due to poor air quality

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NEW DELHI: The Apex court on October 31 reminded for the third time in eight days that only ‘green firecrackers’ can be used for Diwali celebrations in the national capital region in order to reduce increasing pollution that covers the city with smog every winter. Firecrackers classified as ‘green’ or ‘low emission’ are yet to be manufactured and sold according to petitioners, officials, and experts.

Green firecrackers are firecrackers that do not contain metals such as barium, aluminum and iron which create toxic gases, as per the 2017 affidavit to the top court and explanations offered by the country’s explosives regulator – but such products are largely in development stage and not ready for the markets at present.

An official of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said, “There are no such ‘green crackers’ or low-emission crackers in the market yet as mandated by the apex court. Those available in markets now are traditional fireworks that emit heavy pollution. They all have metals like barium, aluminium, and strontium which produce toxic fumes.

Ranjit Kumar, Senior advocate representing the traders,  requested the top court to allow them to sell the existing stocks that are not categorised as ‘green’ firecrackers otherwise it will lead to a complete ban on fireworks this Diwali in Delhi-NCR, Kumar told the judges, who denied the request.

A spokesperson of the Delhi Police, responsible for enforcing the order, said that they are still to determine which products can be sold. “We are getting in touch with Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to check which crackers could be allowed this Diwali. What we are certain of is that ‘ladi’ (a series of bursts) and firecrackers containing harmful metals won’t be allowed.”

The Supreme Court said that the local police station in-charge will be held responsible for violation of its orders.

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