Prevention of the bursting of banned firecrackers is difficult to implement, said officials of the state pollution control board and environmentalists.
The only solution is prevention of the manufacture of banned firecrackers in April and May, when the production usually begins, they point out.
Manufacturing units, officials and environmentalists said, should be trained in making fireworks that adhere to the standards set by the authorities.
The manufacturers should also be helped to obtain certification from regulatory bodies so that people know they are buying certified products.
An officer of the Kolkata police had said on Thursday that it would have been easier to enforce the cracker ban had it covered all fireworks.
“Now, whenever we are trying to seize crackers, the onus is on us to prove that they are not green fireworks,” the officer had said.
Manufacture and sale of all traditional firecrackers are banned in Bengal, following orders from the Supreme Court and the state pollution control board (PCB).
Only green fireworks – the standards for which are set by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) – are allowed.
“Once firecrackers enter the market, it is almost impossible to prevent people from buying and bursting them. We should not be under any illusion that the crackers whose sound we are hearing are green ones. No green fireworks have been manufactured. There is hardly any commercial production of green fireworks in our state,” said Naba Dutta of Sabuj Mancha, a platform of citizens that has been tracking bursting of banned crackers in the city on Diwali and Kali Puja for years.
“If the government really wants to stop bursting of banned firecrackers, it should intervene at the point of manufacturing and distribution. Once distributed, it is tough to implement a ban,” he said.
An official of the PCB who asked not to be named echoed Dutta. The official said manufacturers should be trained in making green fireworks.
The manufacturers should be trained by NEERI, a Union government-run organisation that issues the certification of green crackers, the official said.
“The PCB or other departments of the state government can help NEERI meet the manufacturers.”
A document posted by the PCB on its website mentions that only green fireworks, bearing the green fireworks logo and a QR code, are authentic items. The code can be scanned by a mobile app named “Green QR”, made by CSIR-NEERI.
On scanning the QR code, a buyer will get to see the certification details and the chemical ingredients contained in that particular green firework.
About half fireworks sold in Bengal are manufactured in the state and the rest come from Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi, said Biswajit Das, a manufacturer.