The year was 2017. Just ahead of Diwali, the Supreme Court had banned the sale of fireworks in Delhi, hoping to prevent the spike in toxic air pollution levels that accompany the holiday season every year.
The ban was a result of a petition filed by three toddlers — aged between six and 14 months — through their parents in 2015, seeking the top court's intervention to stop the use of loud firecrackers during Dussehra and Diwali. The harried parents were asserting their children’s right to be brought up in a pollution-free environment.
Delhi had earned the dubious distinction of being the most polluted city in the world in 2014 and remains so till date. The air quality in Delhi usually starts worsening from autumn. While many factors play a role, the burning of agricultural residue in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana contributes significantly. To add to that, the bursting of tens of thousands of firecrackers during Dussehra and Diwali turns the city into a virtual “gas chamber”.
However, despite several studies pointing out to the dangerous effects caused by fireworks, all hell broke loose following the SC order.
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