Legal Advice

Are Fireworks Legal in India?

Are you allowed to burst firecrackers on Diwali? Will there be a fine imposed? These pressing questions will be answered in this blog.

Industry players had recently revealed that the uncertainty over the Diwali celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic had lowered the production of firecrackers by at least 30%. The Supreme Court has also ordered a probe by the CBI into the use of barium nitrate in the manufacture of fireworks. As a result, many firecracker units are making ‘Green Crackers’ with the formulation recommended by the CSIR. This is because the bursting of traditional firecrackers during Diwali has affected the air quality index in several parts of India.

How Do You Measure Air Quality?

Using the air quality index (AQI), a thermometer look-alike, air quality can be identified. An AQI measures the pollution that the air in the environment carries. It mainly looks for five critical pollutants. They are carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone, and aerosols. 

Healthy breathable air measures anywhere between 0-50 numerical value on the AQI. However, the danger lurks when the pollutants in the air rise, measuring anywhere between 100-150 or more. This is when sensitive groups such as immunocompromised individuals, people with disorders and other breathing conditions begin to suffer. 

Latest Updates on Firecrackers in India

Comparing the above readings to Delhi in 2017, the AQI metrics dwindled between 300-400 numeric values, translating to 878-1179 micrograms per cubic metre. A dangerous condition flagged as hazardous, making it impossible to breathe the outside air.

In 2018, the AQI levels hit 654 – a number that is way above the hazardous level. According to a published study in Lancet Planetary Health in 2018; the toxic air that blanketed India in 2017 claimed close to 1.24 million lives or contributed to 12.5% of the total deaths. 

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In 2020, The air quality in Delhi-NCR plunged into the ‘severe’ category with the air quality index (AQI) reaching 421 on the day after Diwali according to the latest estimates updated by a system of air quality and weather forecasting and Research (SAFAR). 

Most of the areas in the national capital including Delhi University, Pusa Road, Lodhi Road, Mathura Road, IIT-Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport (Terminal-3) and Ayanagar recorded air quality in the ‘severe’ category with an AQI of 479, 433, 392, 427, 398, 468 and 424 respectively.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government even issued a ban on firecrackers between 9 November and 30 November. During this time, several states and UTs issued a partial ban on fireworks in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Notably, these numbers were still better than the previous year’s AQIs that had touched 900 in some parts of the national capital.

While it is impossible to impose a blanket ban on firecrackers during Diwali in the national capital region, the Supreme Court said that there was a need to rethink how Diwali was celebrated and asked the state governments to put in certain rules regarding the bursting of firecrackers during this period.

Be an Environment-Friendly Citizen

The government of India is doing its part in trying to curb the pollution levels from rising further. Though the odds are against us, it is up to citizens of India like you and me, to ensure this Diwali turns out green & environment-friendly than the past years. 

Here are some guidelines which will help all of us be a responsible citizen this Diwali:

  1. Ask your firecracker seller if the crackers which they sell are green crackers
  2. Ask them if they have got their green firecracker license
  3. Educate your family on many health hazards and pollution which will affect everyone
  4. Do not burst crackers after 10 p.m.
  5. Make sure you are street-friendly while bursting crackers especially on the alleys and gullies
  6. Be mindful of others and your surroundings while bursting crackers.

Green crackers in India provide us with a green Diwali! Let this change that we are striving towards lead us to greener pastures.  

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