Asks Centre To Examine Job Problem Caused By The Ban
Nearly four months after banning manufacture of polluting firecrackers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked why people were only running after the firecracker industry though automobiles are a bigger source of pollution.
The apex court said many people lost their livelihood after firecracker manufacturing units were shut down following its order passed in October last year and some way out had to be find out so that they could get back to work.
The apparent softening of SC’s approach on the ban on firecrackers came after manufacturers contended that the court’s order had left more than two lakh workers unemployed.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer asked the Centre whether it had conducted some comparative study to find out pollution caused by firecrackers and vehicles. It also asked the government to examine the problem of unemployment in the firecrackers industry.
“Is there any comparative study on what proportion of pollution is caused by firecrackers and what proportion is caused by automobiles? It seems you are running after firecrackers, but bigger pollution contributor is perhaps automobiles,” the bench told additional solicitor general A N S Nadkarni.
The Centre told the court that the chemical formulation of green crackers has now been finalised and its bulk manufacturing could start from May. It said the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), which were entrusted with the task by the court to formulate the chemical composition of green crackers, have developed the sample crackers which are being tested.
“NEERI will establish base-line values for emission of improved and green crackers and also standard emission testing methodologies shall be adopted to quantify the emission levels. The baseline standards and testing methodologies shall be notified by MoEF and Central Pollution Control Board,” the government said.
Advocate Gopal Shankaranarayanan, appearing for the petitioners, told the bench that the court had passed the order on banning polluting firecrackers on the suggestion of the Centre and there was no ban on green firecrackers. He said that the people who were employed in the industry would get back their jobs after manufacturing of green crackers starts.
SC had on October 23 banned manufacturing of polluting firecrackers and ruled that only green crackers with reduced emissions will be be allowed to be sold in the country to control pollution. The court passed the order after the Centre had suggested that emission level in crackers could be reduced by changing the chemical composition.