The Delhi government on Friday decided to ban use of Chinese cracker – infamous for being health and safety hazards – in an attempt to keep air pollution levels low during the festival of Diwali next month.
In a letter to the Secretary, the interim Environment Minister Kapil Mishra said: “I am made to understand that Chinese crackers are a great health and safety hazard. The use of Chinese crackers increases manifold in the festive season particularly during Diwali in Delhi. It is a major source of air and noise pollution also.”
“The Department of Environment is advised to take immediate necessary steps for its ban in public interest,” wrote Mishra.
The AAP government’s eagerness to take early steps against Chinese crackers is linked to the major embarrassment it faced for alleged delay in banning deadly Chinese kite strings which claimed three lives last month.
Last October, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to the Centre by citing gains from curbs on Chinese crackers during the Diwali festival and sought continuation of restrictions on import of “polluting” fireworks from China.
Cost of potassium chlorate, the raw material used in Chinese crackers, is only Rs 50 per kg as compared to the aluminium powder used in Indian crackers, which costs Rs 300 a kg, according to a cracker dealer in Sadar Bazar.
However, the traders who deal in Indian fireworks fear that the Chinese variants might get smuggled in despite the central government’s restrictions.
After China, India is the second largest producer of firecrackers in the world. The Indian cracker industry is worth Rs 3,000 crore and Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu alone caters to 80 per cent demand of the domestic demand.
The Delhi government’s letter to the Central government’s Customs Department last year urged for the continuation of the ban on the harmful crackers from China.
Every year the Delhi government also puts out advertisements calling public to give up the use of Chinese crackers.