Supreme Court has imposed ban on the sale of fire crackers in NCR region. While the intent of SC is very pious, the move appears to be too and a bit too late.
SC has imposed a blanket ban on the sale of firecrackers keeping in view the Diwali festival, which is round the corner. The pollution level in Delhi is already hazardous and no one would want to add the straw that breaks the camel’s back. But, its 10 days to Diwali. vendors have already stocked up their inventory of crackers. These crackers will find a way to the black market where they will be sold at a premium. Contrary to the Supreme Court’s intent, vendors might get extra incentive to sell firecrackers.
The problem of pollution is far too complicated to be solved by a law enforced ban on firecrackers. There are a lot of contributing factors to pollution such as vehicular pollution, construction dust, burning of waste material, and crop residue burning. While fire-cracker ban will ensure that pollution does not rise to humungous levels like the last Diwali, it does little to solve the problem in the long term. Accrual of short-term benefits too is subject to proper implementation of the ban. The ban is destined to fail for reasons discussed earlier.
What can be done?
It is sad that Supreme Court has to pitch in for issues that endanger existence. We need to act responsibly to curb the issue of pollution. Unless we understand the urgency of situation and act, every judgment will just add new pages to the legal books. For example, ban was imposed on the burning on crop residue in Punjab and Haryana in 2015. 2 years hence, farmers still burn the crop residue because the ban was not followed by any concrete alternative by the government.
The need of the hour is to back the ban with proper imposition of the ban. In long run, we need to educate and enlighten people about the horrific situation of pollution and how each of us can contribute to make the situation better. We need to systematically address all the components of the issue. We need to reduce the vehicular pollution by strengthening the public transport network. There needs to be a ceiling on construction dust which is largely unchecked today. We should provide farmers with incentives to cease burning the crop residue.
Ages ago Diwali was celebrated to mark the return of Ram fromm exile. Let us celebrate this Diwali to mark the return of clean and pollution free environmeent.