fireworks

Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

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Diwali is here. Yes, it’s that time of the year! Sweets, lights, decorations and most importantly, fireworks. Although many citizens are concerned about the deteriorating air quality and ditching the fireworks, many still want to make some noise for celebration. Banning the fireworks and crackers has met with an outrage and is not a possible solution.

Here comes the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to save the day. Harsh Vardhan, minister of Science and Technology has announced that scientists at CSIR-NEERI in collaboration with wight other government labs have developed “green” crackers. These crackers would emit at least 15-30% less pollutants.

The scientists have developed three types of firecrackers – named SWAS (Safe Water and Air Sprinklers, STAR (Safe Thermite Cracker) and SAFAL (Safe Minimal Aluminium) having matching sound intensity with conventional crackers– after a year’s research. The commonly used pollution-causing chemicals – aluminium, barium, potassium nitrate and carbon – have either been removed or sharply reduced in the green crackers to reduce emissions by 15-30%.

These crackers are made with a chemical composition that produces water molecules, which substantially reduces emission levels and absorbs dust. They are also said to be cheaper to manufacture than the conventional crackers.

“Firecrackers are synonymous with festivals and celebrations. This is why completely removing them suddenly is not feasible. Last year, at India International Science Congress in Chennai, I had thrown a challenge at our scientists to develop green crackers. They took it up and within a year they have brought us a solution” said Harsh Vardhan.

Still awaiting to get the license, the crackers would not be available in market soon. The government has sent the technology to Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, the licensing authority for this.

These crackers have tested for colour, smoke, brightness and particulate matter and are found to emit less smoke and noise.

“The biggest factor is that they would be 25-30% cheaper to manufacture and manufacturers would not have to make any changes in their facilities,” he added.

 

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