The Supreme Court has, thankfully, shot down a demand for a complete ban on firecrackers on Diwali. But the demand for the ‘ban’ itself defies logic.
Pro-ban activists propound the pollution logic.
A World Health Organization report on pollution around the world, focusing on airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers (known as PM2.5) presents a dangerous picture for India. And this is an annual data.
An International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) survey found that the number of vehicles on Indian roads has nearly trebled to 130 million in 2013, from 50 million in 2003. It has risen vehicle nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions by 10 percent. NOX is harmful to human health, ozone, and plants.
Euro 6 are European Emission Standards that call for reduced NOX emissions. NDTV
Another problem is fossil fuel. The WHO report highlighted that the highest concentration of PM2.5 was in north India, the region with the highest population concentration, vehicles, factories and consumers of biomass.
The Chinese use potassium chlorate, a chemical banned in India, in their firecrackers. The chemical is highly dangerous – it explodes on friction.
Indian firecracker manufacturers argue that since they use aluminium, barium and potassium nitrate in the locally-made crackers, it is less dangerous and polluting than the Chinese ones.
China’s fireworks industry generates an annual revenue of $12 billion (approx. Rs.78,594 crore). It is more than 10 times the size of the fireworks industry in the United States.
Though only one Chinese city (Nanjing) has banned firecrackers outright, the industry is itself transforming by moving to ‘green’ crackers.
Banning firecrackers will destroy an industry which feeds five lakh families.
Producing 80 per cent of all Indian manufactured firecrackers, the industry in Sivakasi is now facing a crisis. Of the 800 odd factories, 100 are up for sale.
Packets of firecrackers manufactured in India list maximum retail price, emergency phone numbers and usage methods. The Chinese firecracker packets bear no such thing.
Manufacturers lament that illegal import of firecrackers is rampant in the country but legal export of Indian crackers is not allowed.
The Centre recently issued a statement saying that no clearance has been given to Chinese firecrackers. Yet despite attempts by both the Centre and states, such crackers are available in the markets.
The main reason behind the widespread use of Chinese firecrackers in India lies in pricing. Potassium chlorate in Chinese crackers bring down their cost by 5 and 10 times lower than Indian firecrackers.
Philippines has a five-day Olympian festival around the same.
On November 4 at 12 noon IST. Colour codes of pollution level from least to most: Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple, Maroon.