Amid the debate over firecrackers raging after the Supreme Court lifted a ban on its sale last week, you’d perhaps be pleased to know that scientists at CSIR-NEERI have developed a set of ‘green’ crackers that are not only less polluting but are comparatively cheaper.
Two laboratories under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – National Environmental Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur and Central Electrochemical Research Institute, Karaikudi have created firecrackers that will release less harmful chemicals and 30-40 % less harmful particulate matter. These firecrackers were developed after union environment minister Harsh Vardhan asked scientists to make green crackers at the International Science Congress last year. He added that the cost of development was around Rs 65 lakh.
What are green firecrackers and how are they different?
There are three types of firecrackers that have been made – SWAS (Safety Water Release), STAR (Safety Thermite Cracker) and Safal (Safe Minimal Aluminium). All three have the sound intensity that matches with conventional crackers.
Unlike regular firecrackers that are made of pollution-causing chemicals like Aluminium, Barium, Pottasium Nitrate and Carbon, scientists have used Zeolite to make green crackers. Green firecrackers have been found to emit less smoke and noise. Moreover, they are 15-20 percent cheaper than the regular ones. The team of scientists also claim that these firecrackers meet the emission norms set by the Supreme Court. However, the usage of green firecracker will be applicable only to Delhi NCR and not the rest of India.
So will they replace regular firecrackers?
No, not this Diwali because they are yet to hit the markets.Moreover, these firecrackers still have to obtain a green signal from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) which is the final authority for framing rules under the Explosive Act 1884 and Inflammable Substances Act, 1952. But once approved, these firecrackers will be available for use on all occasions including weddings throughout the year.
Meanwhile, E-crackers or electric crackers are also being tested by a team from CSIR-CEERI in Pilani.
What are the challenges?
The firecracker industry in India is worth Rs 6,000 crore and provides employment for over five lakh people. Even if green firecrackers pass all the emission tests and get certification from PESO, getting manufacturers to do away with existing firecrackers will be the biggest challenge.
The apex court on Tuesday heard a plea filed by Tamil Nadu and firecrackers manufacturers association who have sought a relaxation of its recent order which regulates the sale of crackers in India. The final clarifications regarding the order will be given on October 31.
(with inputs from PTI)