Air Pollution

SC moves to make festivals less noisySC Judgements


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  New regulations regarding selective ban on Fire Crackers

Mains level: Particulars of the Judgmen



  1. Bursting of firecrackers has seen a substantial increase in PM 2.5 level, which is a very serious health hazard.
  2. To this effect the SC judgment has come on the basis of a petition filed by two infants a six-month-old and 14-month-old through their fathers in 2015.
  3. They said the air pollution caused by various factors, especially firecrackers, made Delhi a gas chamber.
  4. They  had pleaded for their right to life.

Highlights of the Judgment

  1. The Court held that bursting of crackers during Diwali is not the only reason for worsening air quality, at the same time; it definitely contributes to air pollution in a significant way.
  2. It referred to studies by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to show that post-Diwali pollution was lesser in 2017, after the ban imposed some restrictions on sale and manufacture of crackers, than in 2016.

A Perfect balance

  1. The Supreme Court has finally struck a balance between the interests of the firecracker industry and the right to public health.
  2. It has allowed the manufacture and sale of only “green” and reduced-emission or “improved” crackers, while banned those that are loud and toxic to man, animal and the environment.
  3. The court held that only green or improved crackers would be used during religious festivals and other occasions, including weddings.

Prescribed Time Limit

  1. The judgment reduced the time for bursting crackers during Deepavali and other festivals to two hours: between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  2. For Christmas and New Year, the time slot allowed is just half-an-hour, between 11.55 p.m. and half-past midnight.
  3. The reduced time window is applicable across the country.

Regulating the Sale

  1. The court banned the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or ‘laris’), holding that they caused huge air, noise and solid waste problems.”
  2. The sale of green and improved crackers would be only through licensed traders.
  3. It banned online sale through e-commerce websites.
  4. Any e-commerce company found selling crackers online will be hauled up for contempt of court, and the court may eventually also pass orders of monetary penalties.

Ban on certain Chemicals

  1. The use of Barium salt which is used to give only attractive green colour, but emits poisonous gas causing respiratory problem has been banned by the Court.
  2. Aluminum is used as fuel in fireworks to give white brilliant sparkle. Aluminium may cause skin problems.
  3. The Court has also directed Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) to review the clinical composition of fireworks, particularly reducing Aluminium content.

Green Crackers at the Manufacturers rescue

  1. Recently the CSIR have formulated eco-friendly crackers, which would not only cause reduced emissions, but would help people get a reprieve from noise pollution during festivities.
  2. Green crackers are basically reduced emission crackers wherein we reduce some harmful components, like Barium, Aluminum and Chromium which are conventionally used to get different colours.
  3. Though their commercial use has not yet began but are expected to be adopted by manufacturers very soon.

Way Forward: Endeavoring Article 21 to effect

  1. The judgment said that the right to health was part of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 and it assumed greater importance.
  2. It held that the right to health of millions is far more important than averting an economic loss to the firecracker industry.

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
Notify of