The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to give a comparative study on pollution caused by firecrackers and automobiles after observing that automobiles seem to be the "bigger polluter". "It seems people are running after firecrackers when vehicles are greater pollutants," a bench headed by Justice S A Bobde said. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Atmaram Nadkarni, a senior lawyer appearing for the Centre, told the court that the use of barium nitrate for crackers has been banned. Tests are being run to create a formula for green crackers. The top court sought to know if there is any data to show what proportion of pollution is caused by firecrackers in proportion to vehicles. It asked the Centre to give a comparative study on pollution caused by firecrackers and automobiles.
The court also expressed concern over the rights of unemployed workers of the firecracker factories. "Can't leave them hungry," the bench said. "We did not wish to generate unemployment. If the occupation is legal and duly licensed, how can you stop it ?" the court asked and fixed the matter for further hearing on April 3. The petitioners, including Arjun Gopal, told the court that there is no order from the court to stop manufacturing of crackers. Ahead of Diwali, the court had on October 23, last year refused to impose a blanket ban on cracker bursting with certain conditions, which included the use of only lesser pollution-causing 'green crackers'. The court had stated that people will only be allowed to burst bangers between 8 pm and 10 pm on the festival of Diwali.