Lack of clarity on firecrackers' impact on environment: SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) for "lack of clarity" on environmental impact of pollution from firecrackers.
The apex court also expressed concern over air pollution in Delhi-NCR, especially from crackers during the festive season of Diwali and Dussehra, and said that authorities have to take steps to regulate firecracker industries.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur sought presence of senior officers of both CPCB and PESO's Fireworks Research and Development Centre (FRDC) at Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu before it on July 31 so that they can assist on the issues related to environmental impact of pollution from firecrackers.
"We are concerned with air pollution. Dussehra and Diwali are coming. Somebody has to regulate these industries. PESO is saying they have some standards. Firecrackers industries have to adhere to it," the bench, also comprising justices P C Pant and Deepak Gupta, said.
The apex court said it wanted to know from these bodies as to what would be the impact on environment from pollution caused by firecrackers, how it could change the quality of air and also about the safety standards. "There appears to be some lack of clarity on environmental impact of pollution from firecrackers," the bench observed.
It also pulled up the CPCB saying it cannot "shift its burden" to somebody else and its air pollution standards must cover aspects of safety and pollution from firecrackers as well as entire air pollution issue.
"You (CPCB) have to do it. You cannot shift the burden. You are supposed to do it and you cannot say that we will not do it," the bench said.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Patwalia told the bench that firecracker industries were now "highly regulated" and the Centre was complying with the directions passed by the apex court earlier in the matter.
He said continuous monitoring was going on and samples of firecrackers were being tested by the PESO and Controller of Explosives by picking them up from market or from factories where they were being manufactured.
Meanwhile, the firecrackers manufacturers from Sivakasi told the bench that PESO should inform them as to when and where they would test their samples.
The apex court had earlier refused to modify its order banning the sale and stockpiling of firecrackers in Delhi and the national capital region.
It had refused to revoke the suspension of licences of traders dealing in such explosive material.
The apex court had directed CPCB to prepare an inventory of existing firecrackers with the traders and suggest measures for their disposal.
CPCB had earlier told the court that chemical composition of firecrackers which are commonly used exceeded some of the prescribed parameters which may have harmful effects.
The board, in its report, had said that most of the firecrackers carried large amount of sulphur which is one of the major causes of air pollution.
The apex court had on November 11 last year directed the Centre to suspend all such licences as permit sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR and said that the suspension shall remain in force till further orders of the court.
It had also directed that no such licences shall be granted or renewed till further orders.