‘Green firecrackers made using relatively less-polluting materials can be used during the festive season starting this week in West Bengal’ – ruled the Supreme Court on Monday, keeping aside a total ban on crackers which was previously given by the Calcutta High Court to control air pollution.
While reckoning an order from the top court in another case involving firecrackers, the panel of judges said, “There cannot be a complete ban of firecrackers. Instead, strengthen the mechanism to stop misuse.”
Supreme Court Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi also asked the West Bengal government to see if there are other possibilities of ensuring that banned firecrackers items related to them do not get imported into the state and are stopped at entry points.
The judges were hearing the pleas by manufacturers against the order issued on October 29 by the Calcutta high court banning the sale, use and purchase of all types of firecrackers in the state-issued.
“Despite the fact that there are three orders of Supreme Court regarding green crackers and two orders of the National Green Tribunal, the Calcutta High Court has banned green crackers. The Supreme Court orders say that if air quality is moderate or better, green crackers may be permitted to be used,” said senior lawyer Siddharth Bhatnagar who appeared for firecracker manufacturers.
The Calcutta High Court order was passed over a Public Interest Litigation filed by environmental activist Roshni Ali who seeked a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during the upcoming festivities to ensure people’s rights to clean, healthy and breathable air during a pandemic.
The High Court said, “The state should ensure that there is no use or display or bursting of firecrackers of any type at all during Kali Puja, Diwali celebrations as well as Chhath Puja, Jagadhatri Puja, Guru Nanak’s birthday and Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations this year.”
Bengal’s capital Calcutta like many cities across the country in recent years has recorded some of the highest pollution level indexes across the globe. According to a new study by researchers from the University of Chicago, the city’s residents are on a track to lose nine years of their lifespan if the 2019 level of pollution persists.