In its verdict yesterday, the Supreme Court issued directions that only green firecrackers be sold across the country in a bid to reduce dangerous emissions during holy festivals like Diwali.
But what are these green crackers?
These are essentially crackers with significantly lower emission levels that also possess the ability to absorb dust. For starters, no firecracker is free of polluting emissions.
However, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working on developing firecrackers that reduce the emission of particulate matter by 30-35% and other hazardous chemicals like nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide.
One such prototype even generates water molecules, which acts as a dust suppressant. There are also prototypes which reduce aluminium content. “It’s due to in-situ water generation in the crackers itself. The system produces water molecules after (the) reaction and thus, act as (a) dust suppressant,” says a scientist, speaking to The Times of India.
According to The Indian Express, “Scientists have also developed potential sound-emitting functional prototypes that do not emit sulphur dioxide, and are testing a prototype of flower pots substituting barium nitrate with an eco-friendly version.”
They have even developed prototypes of e-crackers (electronic crackers).
According to The Times of India, these prototypes, developed by scientists at the CSIR’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), have been sent to the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO). The PESO is a statutory body which authorises and frames rules for the safety and stability of products that are governed under the Explosives Act, 1984, and the Inflammable Substances Act, 1952.
Speaking to the daily publication, Rakesh Kumar, Director, NEERI, said that once PESO approves these prototypes, they can assist manufacturers with the production process, besides helping them meet the steep demand for such products now that authorities are expected to clamp down on conventional firecrackers. The ball is now in PESO’s court.
Although these products may not be ready for mass production by this Diwali, a prototype approved by PESO last year could be available. It even ordered manufacturers to ensure that their products don’t contain dangerous pollutants like arsenic, mercury, lithium, antimony and lead. Meanwhile, the Centre directed CEERI (Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute) to develop e-crackers.
“We are ready with prototypes which can generate patterns of colours and noise within the prescribed limit. We are now waiting for its production,” says CEERI Director, speaking to ToI.
Thus far, CSIR-NEERI have managed to “successfully” test some of these products in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, a leading industrial town in firecracker manufacturing.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)