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Fears of air and noise pollution, as well as severe health fears will rob firecrackers of a great deal of sparkle and verve this Diwali.

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta on Monday (July 31) banned the use of lithium, antimony, mercury, arsenic and lead in making fireworks.

Lithium imparts the red colour, antimony generates the glitter, while lead oxide gives a crackling effect. Inhaled, this could cause damage to the nervous system, the bench was told by senior officers of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO).

The bench observed: “It appears that no standards have been laid down by the CPCB with regard to air pollution by firecrackers. Dr AB Akolkar, member secretary of CPCB, says it will take some time to arrive at the standards and it will be done by September 15, at the latest. In the meanwhile, we direct that no firecrackers manufactured shall contain antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in any form whatsoever. It is the responsibility of the PESO to ensure compliance.”

—India Legal Bureau

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