Udipt Nidhi: In 2016, Delhi’s air pollution level stood at “severe” with an average of the PM2.5 level being recorded at over 700g/, 29 times higher than WHO standards.
The Supreme Court prior to the arrival of Diwali put a ban on the selling of Firecrackers in Delhi-NCR region. The catastrophe after the festival, faced by the Delhi last year was enough for the Apex Court to rule out this judgment. The ruling, however exaggerated and triggered a series of unintended reactions from all across the country. Without any shadow of a doubt, it can be said that the decision is well-intentioned. After all air pollution is directly associated with human health.
In restoring the Apex’s court order, which was modified this year in September allowing for the limited sale of crackers, the bench of Justice A K Sikri, A M Sapre and Ashok Bhusan on Monday observed “We are of the view that the order suspending the licences should be given one chance to test itself in order to find out as to whether there would be the positive effect of this suspension, particularly during the Diwali period.”
Doctors and Environmentalists welcomed the decision enthusiastically. Nature has embraced us for centuries, now it’s our turn, they say. This decision may give an episodic relief to our atmosphere in October. However, the air pollution in North India is much higher than the set idle standards. “Court needs to bind by some strict rules in future for limiting the activities that add pollutants and toxicity to air. Pollution affects all parts of the body, be it skin, eyes, nose, heart or lungs”, said Dr. Sandeep Nayar, HoD, Respiratory Medicine, Allergy and Sleep Disorders, BLK Super Speciality Hospital.
Disheartened Hindu nationalists proclaimed, this order of Supreme Court as a strike on the heart of quintessential Hindu Tradition, critics like Chetan Bhagat have compared it to banning Christmas tree on Christmas. Pointing out that the ban only covered the sale and not the lighting of firecrackers, a BJP spokesperson in the state unit in Delhi, Tajinder Singh Bagga, vowed not to give up his annual custom of distributing firecrackers among slum children in the city. He says he got a massive response from social media. “When I tweeted yesterday we are going to distribute, many people sent the message we also want to distribute, because of this ban, because people were in anger.”
There are many other environments complications. Violation of the norms of National Green Tribunal is a common practice in many states of India. Medha Patekar associated with Narmada Bachao Aandalon many a time quoted on the violation of NGT. Supreme Court should take cognizance of such breach of NGT cases. Many of the chemicals like EndoSulfan for fertilizers, which is banned in most of the world’s developed countries are being widely used in India. There are much more such disputable subjects concerned with our environment.