Why are people "running after" firecrackers when it is automobiles that are the "bigger" source of pollution, the Supreme Court said today, responding to petitions requesting for a complete ban on firecrackers across the country.
The top court also asked the centre to give a comparative study on pollution caused by crackers and vehicles. "Is there any comparative study on what proportion of pollution is caused by firecrackers and what proportion is caused by automobile? It seems you are running after firecrackers but bigger pollution contributor is perhaps vehicles," a bench of justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer told Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, who is appearing for the Centre.
Before Diwali last year, the Supreme Court had restricted the use of firecrackers to tackle concerns about Delhi's notorious pollution, and also other cities. The top court allowed "safe and green" crackers from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali.
The Supreme Court had also ruled out sale of crackers online, warning that e-commerce sites will be hauled up for contempt. The court referred to Flipkart and Amazon.
A petition on behalf of three infants in 2015 had called for a complete ban.
The top court will take up the case again on April 3.
Each year, smoke from firecrackers covers Delhi and its neighbourhood in a haze that can linger for days as wind speeds drop in the cooler weather, adding to pollution caused by the burning of crop residue, vehicle exhausts and industrial gases. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had once called the city a "gas chamber."
The air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter, crossed 300 several times in Delhi last year. Anything above 100 is considered unhealthy by the Central Pollution Control Board.
With inputs from PTI