Hon'ble Supreme Court's order a much-needed step to reduce air pollution

October 23, 2018

Reduce air pollution

Effective enforcement would be key to realizing benefits of the Hon'ble Court's directions

New Delhi, 23rd October: TERI welcomes the Hon'ble Supreme Court's order on regulating the sale and use of firecrackers in India. The order can be expected to bring down emissions and noise levels, dependent on effective enforcement.

The 24-hourly pollutant concentrations on the day of Diwali have been found to be extremely high. RSPM (PM10) concentrations varied between 400-1100 μg/m3, SO2 15-90 μg /m3 and NO2 concentrations ranged between and 37-250 μg/m3 during 2006-2017. The values in some years have been almost 10 times higher against the nationally prescribed air quality standards for PM10. Last year, the average PM10 concentrations increased on the day of Diwali by almost 200% with respect to the last day. This is when there was a ban on sale of crackers in Delhi NCR. Increased pollution can lead to acute respiratory illness, cardiovascular discomfort, annoyance, sleep disturbance, and hearing impairment. Other than air and noise pollution, garbage volumes are tremendously increased due to cracker residues.

Last year, despite the ban on sale of crackers in Delhi NCR, there was significant increase in pollution levels which can be attributed to cracker burning. This year there is no ban on selling of crackers, but there are restrictions on the time and type of cracker burning. In this scenario, the present order of the Hon'ble Court can only lead to reduction in the emissions due to cracker burning if the orders are adequately enforced. In order to ensure adequate enforcement of the Supreme Court order, helpline numbers should be widely displayed so that public vigilance can be improved and illegal cracker burning activity can be curtailed. Awareness campaigns should be launched to sensitize people on impacts of cracker burning on air quality and health. The initiatives, like 'Say no to crackers campaign' launched by the government of Delhi with the help of a large number of school children, needs to be rejuvenated.

We must support the Supreme Court order and try to celebrate this Diwali in a greener way, by not bursting crackers which can lead to lesser pollution levels, especially during the days after Diwali. However, for effective long term control of air pollution in the city, stringent measures are required on all the other major sources, which emit toxic pollutants all-round the year.

How to celebrate eco-friendly Diwali

  • Instead of individual celebration prefer community celebration
  • Limit your celebration for prescribed period of time (8-10 PM)
  • Use eco-friendly crackers which are made up of recycled paper and the sound produced by these crackers is under the decibel limit defined by the Pollution Board. These crackers produce paper fluffers and different color lights instead of sound on bursting
  • Instead of electric illumination go for traditional lightening of earthen lamps or diyas

For further details, please contact:
TERI - Pallavi Singh: pallavi.singh@teri.res.in

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Air pollution