The Supreme Court’s (SC) Tuesday order that insists on sale of only green or low-emission firecrackers this Diwali may not affect the sales in the city, as manufacturers claim they have already made “products that are less noisy, but more colourful”.

While the SC refused a blanket ban on sale, it has restricted the bursting of firecrackers to between 8pm and 10pm

Minesh Mehta, honorary general secretary, Mumbai and Thane District Fireworks Dealers’ Welfare Association, said all crackers available in the market produced noise less than 125 decibels.

“Colourful firecrackers are in demand. People don’t prefer noisy crackers. Sticking to a limit of 45 or 50 decibels is practically impossible. But the time restriction (between 8pm and 10pm) may not be so difficult to adhere to,” Mehta said.

Firecracker dealers at Mohammed Ali Road said the verdict has come too close to the festival, as most of them have already got the stock.

“Sellers won’t be affected, it is the manufacturers who will have to look for alternatives. We will dispose of the stock and not take the banned products. We will only place order for the firecrackers that are approved for the SC. As of now, if ladis are banned, they aren’t that expensive to affect our sales volume,” said Abdullah Ghia, director, Essabhai Fire Works Pvt Ltd.

Noise activists, however, are unimpressed, as firecrackers violate the noise decibel limit (45-50 decibels) in residential areas in any case.

Sumaira Abdulali, convener, NGO Awaaz Foundation, said the previous year’s report of firecracker testing showed that most brands touched the outer limits and made noise in the range of 116dB and 119dB.

“The police give licences to vendors and are also in charge of implementation of noise rules. It will now be up to them to ensure polluting crackers are not burst,” said Abdulali.

Asim Sarode, a human rights analyst, said that while Article 19 of the Constitution (freedom of speech and expression) was being considered in this verdict, Article 51 which speaks about scientific temperament was being neglected.

“In the US, people gather at one place and burst crackers. We could try such a thing here,” Sarode said.

First Published: Oct 24, 2018 00:06 IST

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