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SC asks Centre to approve composition for Green crackers


New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday directed the Centre to approve the composition of green crackers after it is formulated by PESO so as to enable their manufacturing.

It allowed the firecracker manufacturers to apply for approvals from the concerned authorities after Petroleum and Explosive Safety organization (PESO) approves the new formulation of fireworks by April 30.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde, M Shantanagoudar and Indira Banerjee said that after PESO finalises the new formulation of fireworks, an approval of Union of India should also be taken so that manufacturing can start.

"Any licensed manufacturer may apply for requisite approval in accordance with the relevant rules and orders. This order shall be subject to such orders after the PESO has granted the approval. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate Change (MoEF&CC) may file a report before this Court...," the bench said.

It clarified that these orders will be operating till further orders and do no create any equity in favour of anybody. It listed the matter for further hearing in August 2019.

The apex court was hearing pleas of firecracker manufacturers including the Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers' Association seeking permission to make of firecrackers.

They contended that they should be allowed to manufacture firecrackers with Barium substitute which is Barium nitrate claiming that this would reduce the pollution to the extent of about 25 to 30 per cent.

The bench, however did not agree with the contention saying it is not inclined to allow this because the matter is still under consideration of the PESO which has agreed to look into the best formulation that may be permissible for manufacture of firecrackers.

On March 5, the PESO had told the apex court that it has finalised "improved formulations" for making green firecrackers and product approvals will be given to the manufacturers subsequently.

The apex court was earlier informed that joint work was undertaken by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), and other fireworks manufacturers related to formulation and production of green firecrackers.

Trial of some samples was also conducted, PESO had said, adding that the development would reduce the emission of pollutants PM 2.5 at least by 25-30 per cent.

"It is envisaged that product approval for improved formulation by PESO shall be given by March 21, 2019," it had said, adding, "It is envisaged that product approval for new formulations shall be given by PESO by April 30, 2019." It further said testing of light and sound emitting fireworks were demonstrated successfully in presence of PESO officers and fireworks manufacturers and nearly 200 MoUs have been signed with manufacturers.

"After the joint work in various fireworks manufacturing factories situated in an around Sivakasi and after observing materials, analysis/assessment of the manufacturing process and testing performance efficiency, it appears that the above mentioned manufacturing shall reduce the emission of pollutants PM2.5 at least by 25-30 per cent (improved and green fireworks/green firecrackers) and it will be a win-win situation in the interest of all stake holders in the public interest," the PESO had said.

The court had earlier asked PESO to file norms and formulations which were required for producing green crackers as stated in the affidavit of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

The apex court had last year banned the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or 'laris') saying that they cause "huge air, noise and solid waste problems".

It said the noise and smoke emission limits of the crackers will have to be approved by PESO, a body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

To curb pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), the court had directed the Centre, the Delhi government and state governments of NCR to permit community fire-cracking (for Diwali and other festivals), wherever it could be done.

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