NEWS
23/10/2019 6:32 PM IST

Diwali 2019: What Are Green Crackers And How Can You Identify Them?

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that green crackers with 30% fewer emissions will now be available in the market.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Harsh Vardhan, Union minister of health and family welfare, during the launch of green crackers on October 5, 2019 in New Delhi.

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan announced this month that the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) labs have been successful in developing various environment-friendly fireworks. 

“I am happy to announce that we have green crackers with reduced emission by minimum 30%. These are environmental friendly. We had appealed to our scientists to come up with an alternative to the polluting fire crackers so that people’s sentiment are taken care of without harming the environment,” the minister was quoted as saying by PTI.

In a bid to control pollution, the Supreme Court had banned conventional crackers last year and ordered that only green crackers can be sold in the country.

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What are green crackers?

CSIR explains that green crackers are firecrackers that have “less dangerous” and “less harmful” chemicals than conventional ones. Vardhan also said that a green logo as well as a Quick Response (QR) coding system have been developed for differentiating green crackers from conventional ones. 

The green crackers developed by CSIR do not contain barium nitrate — one of the key ingredients of traditional firecrackers, according to The Print. These crackers release water vapour or air as a dust suppressant and diluent for gaseous emissions, the report added. 

These crackers have been named safe water releaser (SWAS), safe minimal aluminium (SAFAL) and safe thermite cracker (STAR). “The key element in these firecrackers is the reduction in barium nitrate. A study had highlighted high-levels of Barium in the capital’s air post-Diwali and we looked at options to reduce its concentration.

“Not only has this brought down emissions by 30%, but certain parameters have seen a drop by 90% as well. We have also reduced the overall usage of chemicals in the product,” Dr Rakesh Kumar, director, CSIR-NEERI, was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

Kumar, according to The Hindu, also said that over 500 “emission test certificates” have been issued to different cracker manufacturers, but they have to obtain an approval from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO). “However, some of them have been denied approval by PESO,” he said.

Low supply and variety

According to reports, the license to manufacture green crackers have been given to only a few players and there are only two-three varieties available. 

Kumar acknowledged to The Hindu that there is possibly a shortage as not as many approvals as before have been given. “But it also depends on a lot of market factors and traders might be even holding up stock to sell at a higher rate later,” he added.

The cracker industry, according to The Economic Times, is likely to run into losses this year. The report added that there were 1,600 licensed fireworks units in the country last year, but only about 350 manufacturers obtained licences to make green crackers. Traders claim the actual number may be less. 

(With PTI inputs)