The Supreme Court has imposed ban on use of five harmful heavy metals like lithium, antimony, mercury, arsenic and lead in the manufacturing of firecrackers as they cause air pollution.
The SC order came on a 2015 petition filed by three Delhi children who had requested the apex court to intervene to regulate the use of crackers and fireworks during festivals like Diwali.
The apex court held that it is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance of ban order particularly in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu where there are large number of firecracker manufacturers. It also asked CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) and PESO to make collaborative efforts for setting up of standards with regard to air pollution caused by the bursting of fire-crackers.
Heavy metals in firecrackers
Lithium is a metal used to impart red colour to fireworks. Antimony is used to create glitter effects. Lead oxide provides a special crackling effect which, if inhaled, in high concentration can cause damage to the nervous system.
About Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO)
PESO is the apex department to control and administer manufacture, storage, transport and handling of explosives, petroleum, compressed gases and other hazardous substances in India. It functions under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It is headed by Chief Controller of Explosives and is headquartered at Nagpur, Maharashtra.