In an effort to prevent a repeat of last year’s post-Diwali toxic smog that lasted for days, the Supreme Court has banned the sale of firecrackers till November 1.
This means that this Diwali, which will be celebrated on October 19, will have less firecrackers and will, therefore, be silent.
The court wants to “see at least in one Diwali the impact of a cracker-free festivity.” To curb pollution, the top court had suspended all licences that permitted sale – wholesale and retail – of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region on November 11, 2016. However, it was relaxed on September 12 this year.
However, there is some respite for those who had already bought firecrackers as they can still burst them on October 19, the day when millions will celebrate Diwali.
Diwali festivities every year bring deadly smog and suspended particles over Delhi’s air and people complain of breathlessness and lung difficulties. In 2016, PM 2.5 particles, which are harmful to human health, spiked to over 16 times their safe limit, during this period. But the bad air during Diwali is not only due to pollution from firecrackers, it is also partially attributed to farmers in surrounding regions burn crop stubble illegally.
But not everyone is celebrating the move.
The SC decision may cause a Rs.1000 crore loss to people involved in Tamil Nadu’s fireworks manufacturing hub of Sivakasi and risks the livelihoods of lakhs of workers.
Some shopkeepers argue that pollution by firecrackers last for only a week, but vehicles pollute the cities throughout the year, and no one does anything about it. The firecracker industry in Sivakasi employs over 300,000 people and has an annual estimated turnover of about Rs.7000 crore.
Here are some voices of dissent on Twitter:
I am guilty of not thinking of firecracker sellers and their business. I am very selfish when it comes to my kids
— vivek raj (@vivekrajindia) October 9, 2017
I dnt know as a muslim will say if Hindus want to firecracker thy shud do it bcoz it’s a big festival for them.Courts shud be neglected.enjy
— +ve (@maruf24) October 9, 2017
— jayesh jain (@AmTheShade) October 9, 2017
This time nobody is speaking for job loss of those firecracker workers
— Abhijit Sen (@Abhijitsen001) October 9, 2017
— Anant misra (@anantatbar) October 9, 2017
Why can’t you raise your voices when it comes to cutting down millions of trees during Christmas? Or firecracker during new years?
— Harish Nagappa (@hnc9000) October 9, 2017