Thursday, October 29, 2015

Supreme Court Plea to Ban Fireworks during Diwali in Indian Cities

A complete ban on firecrackers during Diwali will not be imposed, the Supreme Court said today, rejecting a plea filed over concerns of increasing air pollution in India's major cities. Reiterating its 2005 ruling that allows bursting crackers between 6 am and 10 pm, the Court asked the government to publish ads warning about the harm from crackers. Pulling up the Centre for failing to publish advertisements from October 16, the court directed the government to run the ads from October 31 to November 12. Diwali falls on November 11 this year. More @ NDTV

In a plea filed in the name of three toddlers by their parents, the petitioners sought a restriction on bursting firecrackers in the morning and also argued there should be a designated place for nursting crackers. However, turning the plea down, the Supreme Court said, "Everyone wants to burst crackers in front of their houses and they can say it is their right. Can we ask them to go to Nehru Maidan to burst crackers. We can't do that."

A fringe group and a cracker manufacturers' association had moved the Supreme Court, opposing the ban on crackers during Diwali, contending that it would affect the Hindu tradition and hurt religious sentiments. The Centre has also indirectly supported them, saying bursting of crackers during Diwali is not the only cause for air pollution. In its petition, the fringe group from Tamil Nadu's Sivakasi said fireworks are a means of celebrations across the world. "Crackers are burnt during Diwali, Independence Day, New Year, Christmas, victories in games and elections, marriages etc. These celebrations cannot be thwarted by unfair restrictions," it said. Pointing to the Rs. 1,000 crore turnover of the industry, the Cracker Manufacturers' Association said it provides direct employment to over 3 lakh people and indirect employment to 10 lakh. "Any adverse direction against the use of crackers during Diwali will have a disastrous effect on the entire fireworks industry and on the livelihood of lakhs of people," the petition read.

Friday, October 09, 2015

It Will Take 9 Years to Clean Taj Mahal

Years of air pollution have stained India's Taj Mahal, turning its once-white marble facade into an unsightly yellow. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is using a 'mudpack therapy' to clean the pollution -- but the project will be a lengthy one, with the Times of India reporting it could take up to nine years to complete. Once finished, the process will have to be repeated every 6-7 years if pollution in the area remains at the same level. The cleaning of the interior has not been included in the plan.

In late 2014, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin, the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur and the Archaeological Survey of India teamed up to analyze the effects of pollution on the Taj Mahal. "Our team was able to show that the pollutants discolouring the Taj Mahal are particulate matter: carbon from burning biomass and refuse, fossil fuels, and dust - possibly from agriculture and road traffic," Michael Bergin, a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says in a statement. According to the BBC, pollution from a nearby oil refinery in the nearby city of Agra is exacerbating the situation.

Read more @ Weather Network

Air Pollution in the Prairies