Pollution check by Supreme Court: “Green crackers”? Good thought but may be late


The Supreme Court made only the sale of “green and improved” fireworks mandatory at least in the national capital region (NCR) centered on New Delhi.

An order by supreme court just few days ahead of the major festival may not be able to bring the desired change and will be difficult to implement. It may serve as just a warning or create some awareness. Such orders have to come well ahead, may be   at least a year before, to set up a system for better control.  The resulting pollution is difficult   to control, unless society behaves more responsibly.

As a society, we have been using firecrackers to celebrate occasions, from festivals to landmark days and weddings to grand events, but there is a much bigger cost involved, the damage the bursting causes to the environment and of course the health hazards.

The intentions are good and right, but implementation may be difficult.

The court order means firecrackers that will emit fewer toxic pollutants will be manufactured and sold across India in the future although it wasn’t clear if the ruling on the sale of green fireworks will extend beyond the national capital and surrounding cities this coming Diwali, which is on November 7.

Diwali celebrants nationwide will get two hours between 8pm and 10pm to burst crackers during the festival in November, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, and made only the sale of “green and improved” fireworks mandatory at least in the national capital region (NCR) centered on New Delhi, in a ruling that could significantly reduce air pollution that peaks in the festive season but could dent the business of cracker manufacturers and distributors.

Are there any “Green crackers” manufactured, or they exist. If they exist, will they be available in next few days.

With the Supreme Court permitting only ‘green firecrackers’ for a less-polluting Diwali, the manufacturers on Tuesday said “no such thing” exists and environmentalists wanted authorities to work real quick to ensure compliance.
Police officers said they do not have any equipment to measure the decibel levels of the firecrackers or the smoke they emit to ensure only ‘green’ firecrackers are being used and they would have to rely mostly on human intelligence and their sources on ground to ensure compliance.

It will be a difficult task to monitor whether shopkeepers are following guidelines since crackers are sold in bulk during Diwali. As per the court order, SHOs will be held liable if banned firecrackers are sold in their area.

Environment and health experts welcomed the order, saying it was time the society celebrated festivals “more responsibly”.

Implementation of the order is yet to be seen ,as  authorities would now have to ensure that the norms are adhered to more strictly, especially at the manufacturing level.

The current year production has already been completed. Now how industry can produce green crackers. In West Bengal, crackers are burst for two consecutive days — for Diwali and on Kali Puja the next day. Tamil Nadu has a tradition to burst crackers early morning on Diwali, while it is done mostly on Dussehra in Karnataka.

Air pollution, Ultra fine dust causing millions premature deaths by heart attacks, strokes


Globally, 58% of outdoor air pollution-related premature deaths are due to heart disease and strokes, 18% due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 18% from lung infections, and 6% because of lung cancer, said the World Health Organisation’s 2016 estimates.

Outdoor air pollution leads to 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide each year, with close to 60% of the deaths from heart attacks and strokes, according to the World Health Organisation. Finally, scientists appear to have figured out just how fine dust attacks the cardiovascular system.

An analysis of the effect of the different components of polluted air, including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, showed that small particulate matter is the most damaging to the body’s vascular system, reported a team of researchers from Germany, England and the US.

Ultrafine dust (particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter, or PM2.5) is the size of a virus and can penetrate the lung barrier to enter the blood system, leading to local inflammation in the blood vessels, the researchers found. This leads to atherosclerosis (plaque or fatty deposits in the side wall of the arteries), which stops blood flow to cause heart attacks, heart failure and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), they said.

It was PM2.5 and not nitrogen dioxide (NO2) — both of which are found in diesel exhaust emissions — which affected vascular function and posed a bigger risk to cardiovascular health, found the study published in the European Heart Journal on Thursday.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in India, which has 14 of the world’s most polluted cities by small particulate matter concentration (see box). According to the Global Burden of Disease report, an estimated 1.1 million deaths in India were linked to PM2.5 air pollution in 2015.

PM2.5 inhalation causes hypertension, insulin resistance, and endothelial dysfunction with impaired vasodilation (stiffening of the arteries), inflammation and clot formation, which can trigger heart attack and stroke. “The fine dust particles are chemically formed mainly in the atmosphere from emissions from traffic, industry, and agriculture. In order to achieve low, harmless concentrations, emissions from all these sources need to be reduced,” said lead author Thomas Münzel, director of cardiology at the Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.

Governments need to introduce strong regulatory policies to regulate emissions and invest in clean transport, green power generation and efficient waste management.

source

 

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