'Lay down emission norms for fire cracker industry'
It will be better if the emission norms are laid down so that the fire cracker makers can design their products instead of going in for newer formulations, said a manufacturer.
"We want the government or the Supreme Court to lay down the emission norms. That will be a transparent and open process. Incidentally, there is no emission norms for the crackers elsewhere in the world," a fire cracker manufacturer in Sivakasi not wanting to be quoted told IANS.
There is precedent to this and cited how the noise levels in the crackers were reduced.
He said after a long legal battle and with the engagement of expert bodies, the standard for noise levels for fire crackers were laid at 125 db measured at four metres.
The noise standards for fire crackers have been notified under the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.
However, the noise limit does not apply for fire crackers that are exported, provided:
* The manufacturer shall have an export order
* The fire crackers shall conform to the level prescribed in the country to which it is exported
* They shall have a different packing colour code, and
* There shall be a declaration on the box "not for sale in India" or "only for export in other countries".
According to an industry official, CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has been tasked by the Supreme Court to come up with new formulations for fire crackers that are less polluting.
On its part, CSIR-NEERI has come out with formulations for some items which are about 30 per cent less polluting and termed them as 'green crackers'.
CSIR-NEERI is also the agency that certifies whether a fire cracker is green or not.
Sivakasi accounts for nearly 90 per cent of the country's fire cracker production, and has 1,070 fire cracker units located in and around it.
For a long time, the fireworks industry has been the target of attack in different forms.
First, the manufacturers were targeted for child labour and it was followed up with noise pollution charge. With the noise pollution issue getting resolved with the laying down of the norms, the industry is being charged with polluting the air.
"The next charge may that the brightness emitted by the firecrackers are injurious to the human eyes," commented an industry player.
The industry players and common people are of the view that the national Hindu festival Diwali is being targeted by vested interests.
Manufacturers say that Sivakasi would have turned into a ghost city long back if fire crackers were the reason for air pollution in Delhi.
At an average, the industry players daily burst around Rs 100,000 worth of crackers for testing purposes but people breathe good air and there are different kinds of birds in Sivakasi, industry officials said.
"The automobile industry was given long buffer time to shift over to BS VI emission norms. But the fireworks industry was not given any norms or time to change over," a manufacturer said. IANS