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Pollution in India: SC sets standards for fire-crackers

In a bid to improve environmental protection from air pollution in India, the Supreme Court directed the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation to avoid putting polluting substances in firecrackers.
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In a bid to improve environmental protection from air pollution, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India on 31st July directed the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) to avoid putting polluting substances such as, antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in any form whatsoever in fire-crackers. The bench headed by Justices Madan B.Lokur and Deepak Gupta made it clear that it is the responsibility of PESO to ensure compliance with the order. Sivakasi is the hub of fire-cracker manufaturers which needs strictest compliance of the order, SC said.

The public interest litigation in the case of Arjun Gopal vs. Union of India was filed by three Delhi juveniles in 2015 through their fathers under Article 32 seeking interim steps to effectuate their right to clean, healthy and breathable air under Article 21. The petitioners, Arjun Gopal, Aarav Bhandari, and Zoya Rao Bhasin sought SC's intervention to put a hold on the widespread use of fire-crackers in India especially during festivals.

The advocates for petitioners Gopal Sankaranarayanan, Amit Bhandari and Saurabh Bhasin contended before the Supreme Court that no standards have been laid down by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) with regard to air pollution by the bursting of fire-crackers. The Member- Secretary of the CPCB, Dr. A. B. Akolkar has sought one and a half month's time to set standards for controlling the pollution caused by fire-crackers. The Bench has directed the Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, Sivakasi to collaborate with Dr. Akolkar to formulate the standards. The SC also directed both, Dr Akolkar and Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, Sivakasi to be present on the next date of hearing which is on 23rd August. 

The Bench shall also decide the harmful effects of strontium and its compound and shall reconsider the interim orders passed by the Court on the next date of hearing. In the initial stages of the case in November, 2016, the Court had asked the CPCB to study the polluting capabilities of substances used in the manufacture of crackers, and submit its report by February, 2017. The report stated that some of the chemicals used in the manufacture of fire-crackers are dangerous and beyond the safety limit. The bench headed by the then Chief Justice, T.S. Thakur, wanted to be apprised with the cancer-causing properties of fire-crackers.

The order will be soon updated on Supreme Court's official website.

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Reviewed by:
Simran Bhullar
Published on 01-Aug-17
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