The Delhi government has re-enforced its ban on the sale of Chinese firecrackers, given the terrible impact they are known to have on the environment.
Around this very time last year, the Supreme Court was moved for a complete ban on firecrackers, over concerns of increasing air pollution. Further, petitioners also sought restrictions on arbitrary bursting of crackers, especially in the mornings, and argued that there should be designated places for this activity.
All of this led to no result as the Supreme Court ruled that people can’t be expected to move out of their houses to designated places just to burst crackers and celebrate their festival. Moreover, banning crackers altogether would hurt religious sentiments and affect celebrations.
Nevertheless, the government of India has always been receptive to the case of getting rid of the cheaper, more harmful Chinese firecrackers that flout the market. Several laws have been passed on the same time and again.
Every year, around Diwali, these laws are revised and tightened. This year, the Delhi government pledged to take action along these very lines, to keep these crackers out of the market. Special teams have been formed to check the illegal trade of these Chinese firecrackers in the market.
Kapil Mishra, the interim minister of the environment department of Delhi tweeted,
“Have instructed the Secretary of Environment to ensure a complete ban on Chinese crackers across Delhi. The Chinese firecrackers are said to be unsafe, hazardous to use and have a detrimental effect on people’s health. Last year’s experience says it is in use and available everywhere.”
These Chinese firecrackers provide a better profit margin for traders. They are also favoured by people as they make more noise, are brighter and go up higher in the sky. But all this is because of the high content of potassium chlorate, which is hazardous as it can explode anytime. They also take a lot of money out of the pockets of Indian manufactures, putting them in misery.
On the other hand, Indian firecrackers use potassium nitrate and aluminium powder, making them more expensive, when compared to their Chinese counterparts.
In 2014, the Centre had released a written notice warning importers, traders and the public of the use of foreign crackers and the consequences of the same. The Delhi government has also been trying to curb their sale. But, to little avail.
Sellers situated on the outskirts of the market might refuse to sell these imported firecrackers, but go a little deeper into the market and you will find open trade of these dangerous crackers.
The inner roads of the market boast of street vendors openly selling Chinese ‘pop-pops,’ pulling strings and the like, and people gathering in big numbers to procure these illegal and harmful crackers.
The very wholesalers who earlier denied having anything to do with these, are often the very people to supply these street vendors with crackers, who even order them in bulk.
With the pollution and toxicity levels rising, these are definitely going to add to the misery both, to the people and of the environment. Yet, efforts are still underway and some result can be seen, though there is still a long way to go.
It might be a better discourse to adopt the true spirit of this festival of ‘lights’ by shunning noisy, polluting firecrackers and spreading lights around with beautiful candles, diyas and lanterns.