Updated June 14, 2022
The Green Crackers are eco-friendly and less hazardous for Environment and the people. These crackers produce less air pollution than by regular firecrackers. The idea of using Green Crackers aims to mitigate poor ambient air quality. Composition of these crackers do not have aluminium, barium, potassium nitrate, or carbon, leaving a lesser impact on the environment.
The crackers of green type has broader inclusive outlook; they are not necessarily the crackers as such. They may include flower pots, pencils, sparklers, maroons, bombs, and chakkar and all have been developed by the National Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a CSIR lab.
Definition of Green Crackers, According to CSIR- NEERI
According to the formulation and policy of NEERI– Fire crackers should be made with reduction in size of shell, elimination of ash components and reduced usage of raw materials in the compositions. It must also be made with use of additives as dust suppressants to ensure less particle emission in the atmosphere. These particulate matters (PM) are SO2 and NOx.
Objective of NEERI
The CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) is a research institute created and funded by the Government of India. Moreover, NEERI falls under the Ministry of Science and Technology (India) of the central government. Although, it was established in Nagpur in 1958 as Central Public Health Engineering Research Institute (CPHERI), concerning only human health.
However, slowly worldwide public awareness on the contamination of the environment on a regional to global scale started getting attention in the 1970s. Shrimati Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister, gave a new name to the Institute as National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in the year 1974.
Now, the major concern of the NEERI is to reduce the poor ambient quality of air. So, in order to mitigate the air pollution, CSIR-NEERI brought the idea of green crackers. It produces 30% less particle emission in the atmosphere by using additives as dust suppressants. While conventional crackers produced 160 Decibels of sound, green crackers’ emission rate is low, about 110-125 decibels.
What are Green Crackers?
Basically, these crackers are brought with an aim to control the increasing air pollution. CSIR-NEERI choses green firecrackers as the alternative of regular firecrackers because these are eco-friendly and do not comprise components that can harm the environment.
Basic Information about the Green Crackers-
(a) These crackers have been developed by the CSIR-NEERI and made an agreement with around 230 companies for manufacturing and selling these in the market.
(b) Green crackers are expected to emit 30% less pollution than conventional firecrackers.
(c) The manufacturing cost of these crackers might be exact or a little more than traditional firecrackers. These crackers can be bought from the online portal.
(d) To differentiate green crackers from the conventional ones, the Quick Response coding has been developed
(e) The main motive of producing green crackers is to control the disbalance in the environment.
(f) These green crackers have been named based on three: Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR), and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL).
(g) Testing for these crackers has been ongoing for many years. Still, a bulk of initial testing of green crackers was done in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, one of the major hubs for crackers manufacturing industries.
Factors Responsible for Bringing Around Green Crackers
A lot of factors have contributed to the introduction of green crackers; the important ones are here at glance:
(a) In the last couple of years, major legal battles have been fought for a complete ban on the traditional firecrackers, which have intensely polluted the environment.
(b) Based on multiple sessions in higher courts, in 2019, the Supreme Court allowed CSIR to manufacture green crackers in bulk and ensure their selling in the market.
(c) The approval of these crackers was given by Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO)
(d) PESO’s approval was based on multiple factors, including less pollution, less loud and had to be free of mercury, arsenic, and barium.
(e) These crackers will release water vapor or air as a dust suppressant and diluent for gaseous emissions.
Difference between Green Crackers & Conventional Crackers
The amount of composition and components in the crackers make them different from each other. Regular firecrackers contain aluminum, barium, potassium nitrate, or carbon, leaving a higher impact on the environment. To be more precise, let us understand the components of conventional firecrackers in detail.
I. Conventional Firecrackers
Fuel: In these crackers, mainly charcoal or Thermite is present.
Oxidizing Agents: Nitrates and Chlorates produce oxygen inside the crackers.
Reducing Agents- Something like Sulphur, which can burn the oxygen present in firecrackers.
Regulators- To ensure the speed and intensity with which a cracker bursts
Coloring Agents- Multiple colors appear when a firecracker bursts; the coloring agents play this role. Given below are elements that provide different colors:
Strontium- For Red Colour
Burning of Metals- White Colour
Sodium Salts- Yellow Colour
Barium salts- Green Colour
Calcium Salts- Orange Colour
Copper Salts- Blue Colour
Binders- All the components of firecracker require a medium that can bind them
II. Green Crackers
Green crackers too, in many cases, use polluting chemicals like aluminium, barium, potassium nitrate and carbon, But the quantity is reduced which in turn lowers the emission by about 30 per cent.
Furthermore, in some green crackers, these chemicals are not at all used. These crackers also use additives as dust suppressants to ensure good ambient air quality. These things make green crackers environment friendly and reduce the impact on the health of environment.
Types of Green Crackers
These green crackers have been given three different names: SWAS, STAR & SAFAL
SWAS—Safe Water Releaser
(a) They will release water vapor into the air, which will suppress the dust removed.
(b) It will not comprise potassium nitrate and sulphur
(c) A diluent will be released for gaseous emissions
(d) The particulate dust released will reduce by approximately 30 percent.
STAR- Safe Thermite Cracker
(a) It does not comprise potassium nitrate and sulphur
(b) Reduced particulate matter disposal
(c) Reduced sound intensity
SAFAL- Safe Minimal Aluminium
(a) Minimum usage of Aluminium
(b) Usage of magnesium instead of aluminum
(c) Reduction in sound in comparison to conventional crackers.
What did The Supreme Court say?
On 28 October, while hearing an application on firecrackers, the Supreme Court had observed that it was not against any particular festival or community. Still, it could not permit others to play with the citizen’s right to live in the guise of powers. The Court said that there was no total ban on the use of firecrackers and had only banned those crackers consisting of Barium salts, chemical crackers, or found to be detrimental to health.
Supreme Court made it clear to the states to strengthen the mechanism to stop misuse. “Celebration cannot take place at the cost of the other’s health. It is made clear in the order that there is no total ban on the use of firecrackers. Only those firecrackers are banned (joined, chemical) which are found to be harmful to health and affect the health of the citizens particularly the senior citizens and the children,” a bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna was quoted as saying by news outlet ANI.
States’ Stand on Use of Green Crackers
On 30 September, the Rajasthan government issued an order banning the sale and use of crackers. However, the government of Rajasthan banned the use of firecrackers only in the region that come under the National Capital Region (NCR). The government had banned the sale and use of crackers in view of danger posed to patients of Covid-19 and other diseases by their toxic fumes.
On Saturday, the state allowed only the sale and bursting of green crackers. Supreme Court has permitted in its directions that no crackers other than green firecrackers can be sold or burst,” an order signed by the Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar said. As per the order, sellers who have taken necessary permits from concerned departments and authorities can only sell green crackers. Stalls selling these firecrackers can only be opened from 1 November to 10 November.
The Delhi government, headed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had banned firecrackers on 15 September. The chief minister cited prioritizing people’s health over the celebration and said the move was essential to save the lives of people.
Punjab has also ordered that only green crackers would be allowed during the upcoming festival season. In order, the government said that only the green crackers (those crackers that do not use barium salts or compounds of antimony, lithium, mercury arsenic, lead or strontium, chromate) would be allowed for sale and use in Punjab.
The state government has imposed a total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in 14 districts. However, it has allowed green crackers in cities and towns where the air quality is in the “moderate” category.
The state government has allowed the sale and use of green firecrackers, which conform to the definition and formulation proposed by the CSIR-NEERI.
Thus, considering the tremendous deterioration in the quality of air which declines even more during the winter season in India, taking up strict actions to control Air Pollution had become a major concern.
In Conclusion: The Need of Green Crackers
Pollution has been a major concern for the people of India as it causes a serious problem to the environment and had a serious impact on the life of covid-19 patients. Reports from the Pollution Control Board are that AQI is deteriorating day by day.
Thus, in order to mitigate the rate of pollutions, the Supreme Court had made an order to ban traditional or conventional firecrackers ahead of the festive season. Supreme Court did not impose a complete ban on the use of firecrackers, but green crackers can be used by the people.
In compliance of the Supreme Court Order and rising awareness, the different states of the country have chalked out policies on use of crackers. Moreover, it’s about making choices and hence the communities do celebrate Environment Day every year. They carry out campaigns too, by employing one or other slogan for Environment Day to create mass sensitivity.
FAQs on the Green Crackers
Ans- These crackers do not contain the nitrate of potassium, lithium, barium, lead and arsenic. These are three types of green crackers- (a) SWAS (b) STAR (c) SAFAL
Ans- No, green crackers are not banned. Only those crackers that contain the nitrate of potassium, lithium, barium and arsenic are prohibited by the Supreme Court.
Ans- Green firecrackers are attached with Quick Response code (QR code) that will help to identify it.
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