Automobiles, the Supreme Court says are bigger contributors to pollution than firecracker industries. The Court expressed concerns over the common men losing jobs and stressed that it ‘does not wish to generate unemployment’. The bench of Justices S.A Bobde and S.A Nazeer went on to ask the Centre whether it had done any comparative study on pollution caused by firecrackers and automobiles.
“It seems you are running after firecrackers, but the bigger pollution contributor is perhaps, vehicles,” the bench told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A.N.S Nadkarni.
“We cannot have people unemployed and hungry. There are areas where firecrackers can be used”, observed Supreme Court.
The bench raised a number of questions, one of them being how manufacture of firecrackers could be stopped, with the trade being legal and people having licence to carry out their business. The court highlighted Article 19 which says all citizens shall have the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade of business.
“If the trade is legal and you have the license for this, then how can you stop this? How can you leave people unemployed”, bench asked.
The ASG told the bench that the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) and other expert agencies were experimenting and have come up with a composition of ‘green crackers’. He informed the bench that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Supreme Court had banned the use of barium nitrate in firecrackers.
Appearing for the petitioner who had raised the issue of air and noise pollution from firecrackers, Advocate Gopal Shankaranarayanan said about 2.5 per cent of annual pollution in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) was because of the use of firecrackers during the festive season. The ASG drew the bench’s attention back to ‘green crackers’ when it highlighted the issue of job loss.