After days of being engulfed by a blanket of smog post Diwali and people suffering from respiratory diseases because of it, SC has finally come to people’s rescue.
In a significant order, the Supreme Court today banned sale, stocking of all kinds of fire crackers and issuance of new license in Delhi and NCR region. The ban has to be enforced by the centre which might become a difficulty because of the ongoing wedding season.
The court had earlier indicated that it may favour such a step to control the pollution in the region, which rose to dangerous levels in the days following Diwali.
A bench of Chief Justice T. S. Thakur and Justices A. K. Sikri and S. A. Bobde also specified that no fresh licenses shall be issued for sale and stocking of firecrackers.
The court was acting on petitions filed by three infants Arjun Gopal, Aarav Bhandari and Zoya Rao Bhasin for complete ban on crackers. These petitioners are mere infants, all aged between 4 to 14 months.
“Over the last 2 years, Delhi has retained unique distinction of being most polluted city in the world.” The bench hence, directed Central Pollution Control Board to study harmful effects of materials used in firecrackers and submit a report in Supreme Court in 3 months.
“Levels of Particulate Matter are highest in recent times and across the country, over 7,00,000 deaths occur annually due to air pollution-related diseases. Studies show citizens of India have 30 per cent lower lung capacity than Europeans and that the children are worst affected, as their lungs are not fully developed, making their systems more vulnerable,” the petition said.
The infants in the petition also mentioned that while considerable debate and long-term measures are being discussed by “slow moving state machinery for implementation of measures to control pollution levels in Delhi”, the highest court of the land was “duty bound” to take interim steps in effectuating the people’s right to clean, healthy and breathable air under Article 21 of the Constitution.
“We are the most vulnerable category when it comes to air pollution, especially from suspended particles and toxins. We are foremost prone to lung disease, asthma, coughing, bronchitis, retarded development of the nervous system and cognitive impairment”, pleaded the infants in their petition.
The PIL quoted a May 2014 report of the WHO which said Delhi was the most polluted city in the world. It said the Ambient Air Pollution (AAP) database contains results of outdoor air pollution monitoring from almost 1,600 cities in 91 countries.
Delhi has the highest concentration of PM 2.5 – particulate matters less than 2.5 microns – form of air pollution, which is considered most serious and can cause respiratory diseases and other health problems.
Keeping all the pleadings, situation of Delhi and imminent danger in mind, SC finally gave a decision in future’s favour. Now, the need of the hour is a similar ban throughout the country!
Till then lets just rejoice over this slight relief and sight of a cleaner future!
Like it’s said, “Better late than never!”.
Picture Courtesy: Google Images
Stats Courtesy: LiveLaw
You should give this a read: Gutka Ban: SC Aims For Tobacco Free India