Bursting crackers impacted air quality, not health, SC told

New Delhi, Jan 6 Bursting of fire crackers during Diwali and Dussehra did impact the air quality in Delhi but not the health of people, the apex pollution control panel told the Supreme Court on Friday.

“The respiratory system related symptoms and signs were not much different during pre and post Dussehra and Diwali.

“Although, there was some increase in cough and breathlessness, but this did not translate into any significant illness requiring immediate medical attention,” the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) told the top court in its affidavit.

However, it said that both particulate matter 10 (PM10) and PM2.5 were higher on post-Diwali day compared to pre-Diwali at all the monitoring stations.

“On Diwali day, both PM10 and PM2.5 increased by 2-3.5 fold of the levels recorded seven days before Diwali, and the Diwali peak of PM2.5 declined in three days,” the CPCB told the bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan.

The findings are based on a study carried out by the Maulana Azad Medical College on health impact assessment of firecrackers’ bursting during Dussehra and Diwali in pursuance to September 12 order of the court.

As some of the respondents wanted to respond to the findings, senior counsel Vijay Panjwani sought to block them, saying: “No requirement (of responding to the findings, as) they (involved in the study) are the top experts of the country.”

At this, the bench retorted: “Don’t think you are the only expert. There are many experts, including this court,” underlining that no one expert or group of experts can claim any ultimate expertise.

But Panjwani said: “It is such an adverse report on firecrackers…”

Permitting the CPCB to file its affidavit later, the court adjourned the hearing by two weeks.