Save Water in Holi, Give Up Crackers on Diwali: Is it Justified?"Regulate. Don't ban. Respect traditions."
In light of the severe fog like conditions in Delhi NCR that descend on the city every Diwali, SC has just banned firecrackers. So, Diwali has come under fire (even as talk of saving water on Holi gains momentum) and the SC has restored the embargo on cracker sales, just as the capital city was gearing up for a cracking Diwali. The question now arises whether the ban is a case of judicial overreach? Author Chetan Bhagat certainly thinks so. The writer's tweet on the matter spoke of the futility of banning Diwali crackers and taking the fun out of the festival of lights. So, let's find out who is right and why there is no smoke without fire.Yes1. Save Delhi from Pollution
Delhi has a serious problem when it comes to pollution, with previous Diwalis turning into a nightmare for residents. Toxic fumes from firecrackers cause severe air pollution that can impair health. The festival of lights has turned into disaster, thanks to substandard material used to make these crackers and the poisonous fumes they release.2. Protect Our Fundamental Rights
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution gives citizens the right to life including dignity and comfort in livelihood and right to a clean, habitable environment. Both rights are violated by firecracker industries which exploit child labour under hazardous conditions to create crackers that add to air pollution and environmental degradation. It's time the SC took matters into hand and passed a concrete law to prevent this violation.3. Prevent a Crisis In the Wider Ecosystem
Additionally, the SC needs to protect the wider ecology and surrounding states as well. The air and noise pollution that results from crackers can damage the quality of life for Delhites. Additionally, noise pollution can envelop surrounding areas such as Noida in UP and Gurugram in Haryana. Delhi, as a capital city needs to set a precedent for others.4. Judiciary is a Guardian
The judiciary is a guardian of people's rights. In the light of administrative failures to check this breach and clear bottlenecks to prevent a crisis in the ecosystem, the judiciary must step in.No1. A Ban Will Not Solve Anything
When Delhi and Haryana farmers were banned from burning crop residues last year, the problem still did not go away. This is because the government did not solve the underlying problem which is how to get rid of the residue in the first place. A ban may be in place but compulsions or just flouting orders will cause many to violate it. Bans need to be enforced. Blindly banning crackers without understanding the basic problems will not solve this issue.2. Can One Day Bans Solve a Permanent Problem?
Pollution is not caused by a single day or even a week of burning crackers. It is also caused by industries that flaunt violations of norms and car owners that don't do PUC checks. Pollution also results from the use of aerosols and technologies that degrade the environment. How come the SC is not taking action against these?3. Tackling the Real Problem Important
From vehicular pollution to construction dust, the problem of ecological degradation needs to be addressed at the root, not the periphery. Otherwise, the ban is just an empty exercise with no purpose except to make a token show of protecting the environment.4. Judiciary Transgressing into Executive
Additionally, the judiciary needs to watch out that it is not overstepping boundaries. Deciding on pollution control measures is the job of the administration and if they are lax, the judiciary cannot compensate.Diwali Under Fire: Concluding Thoughts
Rather than placing a complete ban on firecrackers, regulating their usage might have served the purpose better. A festival is a chance to celebrate the values enshrined in the social mores of the community. It helps to maintain our ethos. One day of no firecrackers, moreover, cannot compensate for years of polluting and contaminating the environment.