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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

SC seeks new formula for green firecrackers

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined permission for firecracker makers to use barium nitrate, instead of barium, but directed the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to approve a new formulation for green crackers by April 30.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2019 23:55 IST
HT Correpondent
HT Correpondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A bench led by justice SA Bobde referred to the timeline PESO submitted and ordered the organisation to stick to it.
A bench led by justice SA Bobde referred to the timeline PESO submitted and ordered the organisation to stick to it.(Amal KS/HT FILE PHOTO)
         

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined permission for firecracker makers to use barium nitrate, instead of barium, but directed the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to approve a new formulation for green crackers by April 30.

A bench led by justice SA Bobde referred to the timeline PESO submitted and ordered the organisation to stick to it.

According to the timeline, PESO is to complete trials of low-emission or green crackers by April 30 after which bulk production of fireworks based on new parameters can start -- well in time for the festive season.

The court said once a new formulation is approved, PESO should submit it to the Union of India and “manufacturers may start manufacturing in accordance with the new formulations and after due permissions.”

Permission to produce fireworks would be given only to licensed manufacturers and in accordance with relevant rules.

Last October, the apex court banned the use of barium in fire crackers.

However, to strike a balance between the interests of manufacturers and the right to public health, it refused to ban bursting of crackers and allowed the manufacture and sale of “low-emission” or “green” crackers that are less toxic.

The only problem: there was no definition of green crackers. PESO was tasked with evolving a new chemical composition for green crackers by February 2019, but sought and received an extension (till April 30) and on Thursday, promised to adhere to it.

A request to allow cracker manufacture as per the suggestion given by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), involving minimal use of barium, was turned down by the court. The lawyer for the association representing fire cracker manufacturers and the advocate for the Tamil Nadu government urged the court to let production begin on the grounds that the October verdict created unemployment in the region where the fire cracker industry is located.

“We are not inclined to grant permission at this stage because it appears that the matter is still under consideration of PESO...” the court recorded in its order.

First Published: Apr 11, 2019 23:55 IST