SC to decide on total or reasonable ban on firecrackers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed concern over growing respiratory problems among children due to air pollution and said it will decide whether there has to be a complete or reasonable curbs on the use of firecrackers.

A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan cited a report that said 20-25 per cent children suffer from respiratory diseases.

“The lungs of most infants in Delhi are grey,” the bench said expressing concern over pollution caused due to bursting of firecrackers during Diwali festival.

Dust is the main cause of air pollution in Delhi, said the bench, adding that pollution from vehicles, stubble burning and bursting of crackers added to the pollution.

Taking note of Diwali air pollution, the court said: “We have to find out whether there has to be a total ban or a reasonable ban” on the use, manufacture and sale of crackers.

The court posted the matter for August 8. A batch of pleas has sought a country-wide ban on possession, sale and bursting of firecrackers and stubble burning by farmers.

One of the pleas is filed by a child, Arjun Gopal, who is represented by lawyer Gopal Shankarnarayan. His plea seeks a ban on possession of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) as it was contributing to an already alarming level of air pollution.

During the hearing, firecracker manufacturers opposed the plea contending there was pollution from vehicles and dust. “But we are singled out,” they said.

The petitioners told the court that the minute a child is born, he or she inhales pollution equal to 11-12 cigarettes.

“I am concerned about the lungs of people living in Delhi-NCR. I am not concerned with who manufactures it (crackers),” argued the petitioner.

Last year the apex court prohibited the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR during Diwali.