1st October 2013
The Chief Controller of Explosives,
A Block CGO Complex, Fifth Floor Seminary Hills,
Dr. V. Rajagopalan,
Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests,
Paryavaran Bhavan, New Delhi.
Mr. R. A Rajeev,
Secretary, Department of Environment,
Government of Maharashtra,
Mr. Satyapal Singh,
Commissioner of Police,
Last year, after a Right to Information application filed by Awaaz Foundation, the Chief Information Commissioner directed that all testing of firecrackers should be put up on the website of PESO. Accordingly, noise level testing for the year 2011.2012 was put up and is available at http://peso.gov.in/PDF/Fireworks_Noise_Level_Test_2011_2012.pdf
Complainant: Ms. Sumaira Abdulali on video conference from NIC-Mumbai Studio; Respondent: Mr. R. N. Jindal, PIO & Additional Director (CP Division); The PIO has given submission and pointed out that the issue of testing of Noise Level for Fire Crackers at manufacturing stage is within the jurisdiction of Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) and they are reportedly taking samples from the market and testing them for noise level compliance as per notification of the Government of India of October 1999. He also submits that the right body to put up these reports will be PESO. The PIO has written a letter to PESO on 21/04/2012 and issued a reminder on 19/03/2012. The Commission appreciates the interest taken by the Complainant in getting this report putting this report in the Public Domain and also appreciates the prompt action taken by the PIO for pressing PESO to do this. The Commission is sure that PESO will display this report on its website as early as possible.
Unfortunately, no chemical composition data is available on the PESO website which would be in accordance with the Supreme Court order dated 18th July 2005 that this is the most appropriate way to determine noise levels during stage of manufacture. The Supreme Court Order states:
179. It is hereby directed as under:-
1. On a comparison of the two systems, i.e. the present system of evaluating firecrackers on the basis of noise levels, and the other where the firecrackers shall be evaluated on the basis of chemical composition, we feel that the latter method is more practical and workable in Indian circumstances. It shall be followed unless and until replaced by a better system.
2. The Department of Explosives (DOE) shall undertake necessary research activity for the purpose and come out with the chemical formulae for each type or category or class of firecrackers. The DOE shall specify the proportion/composition as well as the maximum permissible weight of every chemical used in manufacturing firecrackers.
3. The Department of Explosives may divide the firecrackers into two categories- (i) Sound emitting firecrackers, and (ii) Colour/light emitting firecrackers.
4. There shall be a complete ban on bursting sound emitting firecrackers between 10 pm and 6 am. It is not necessary to impose restrictions as to time on bursting of colour/light emitting firecrackers.
5. Every manufacturer shall on the box of each firecracker mention details of its chemical contents and that it satisfies the requirement as laid down by DOE. In case of a failure on the part of the manufacturer to mention the details or in cases where the contents of the box do not match the chemical formulae as stated on the box, the manufacturer may be held liable.
6. Firecrackers for the purpose of export may be manufactured bearing higher noise levels subject to the following conditions: (i) The manufacturer should be permitted to do so only when he has an export order with him and not otherwise;(ii) The noise levels for these firecrackers should conform to the noise standards prescribed in the country to which they are intended to be exported as per the export order; (iii) These firecrackers should have a different colour packing, from those intended to be sold in India; (iv) They must carry a declaration printed thereon something like 'not for sale in India' or 'only for export to country AB' and so on.”
The chemical composition data for the year 2012 available on the PESO website http://peso.gov.in/PDF/Circular_to_Fireworks_Manufactures_in_India_2008.pdf gives general specifications for only 4 varieties of crackers and is not a comprehensive test on the entire chemical composition of any firecracker. Firecracker use in Mumbai is increasing to events all year round and there was extensive firecracker use during the Ganpati festival. It is imperative for this data to be made available to citizens well before the Diwali festival begins so that they may inform themselves of the type of firecrackers they would be permitted to use, both under the Noise Pollution Rules and under the Hazardous Chemicals Rules. The Police too would need this data for their Arms and Ammunition Department to take appropriate action while licensing firecracker dealers. We would be very grateful if this data could be put up on the PESO website at the earliest and be updated regularly thereafter.
Thank you and with regards.