Diwali is being celebrated with traditional fervour across the country, but the poor air quality across India has prompted the Supreme Court to come up with immediate measures to curb rising air pollution. The apex court had on October 23 permitted the sale and manufacture of low emission “green” firecrackers across the nation and fixed a two-hour time period from 8 pm to 10 pm for bursting them on Diwali and other festivals.
Refusing to put a blanket ban on the bursting of firecrackers, the Supreme Court reiterated that only green firecrackers with reduced emission and decibel levels will be allowed during all religious festivals. It also said that the ban on the bursting of firecrackers not conforming to the green norms would be in force throughout the year and also apply to the marriage festivities. The apex court has also clarified that the firecrackers will be allowed between 11.55 pm and 12.30 am on Christmas and New Year Day but they should conform to the green norms it laid down.
Still confused on what is the timing to burst firecrackers in your state? Here’s list of states and timings for bursting firecrackers:
Punjab: 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm.
Karnataka: 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm.
Chennai, Tamil Nadu: 6.00 am to 7.00 am and 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm.
Telangana: 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm.
West Bengal: 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm.
Maharashtra: 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm.
New Delhi: 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm.
What are green firecrackers?
This judgement had sent people in dizzy as what exactly are green firecrackers. Developed by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with eight other government laboratories, the ‘green crackers’, are not completely eco-friendly. They are said to be 30% less polluting than conventional firecrackers. They have a chemical formulation that produces water molecules, which reduces emission levels and absorbs dust.
But how will any person burst green crackers if they are not available? The Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan said manufacturing of the ‘green crackers’ had not yet started and these could only be produced after Diwali. He also said that although less-polluting “green crackers” have been devised and the technology will be shared with the industry soon, it will not be available this Diwali.
What happens if you flout the Supreme Court’s order?
The Supreme Court while reading out the order said those police station chiefs will be personally responsible for ensuring the compliance of its order. “All the official respondents, and particularly the police, shall ensure that fireworks take place only during the designated time and at designated places.”
Bursting crackers that do not qualify for the safety guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court can get you booked under Section 188 of the Indian penal code (IPC). Under the section, if a person violates an order promulgated by a public servant who has the authority to impose it, they can be punished with “simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both”.