How scientists are helping in celebrating an eco-friendly Diwali
New Delhi, Oct 15: Green crackers with 30 per cent less emissions will now be available in the market, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan had announced on Saturday ahead of Diwali, noting that the step will help control pollution as well as take care of people's sentiments.
Addressing an event by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) where the crackers prepared by its labs were displayed, the Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said that they have been introduced to deal with the menace of pollution and would help the fireworks industry which was facing closure after the Supreme Court in 2018 banned conventional firecrackers that have high emission levels and allowed only those that conform to permissible smoke and noise levels.
"I am happy to announce that we have green crackers with reduced emission by a minimum 30 per cent. These are environment-friendly. We had appealed to our scientists to come up with an alternative to the polluting firecrackers so that people's sentiment is taken care of without harming the environment," Harsh Vardhan said.
The scientists informed that buyers should look out for a green logo as well as a Quick Response (QR) coding system, which has been developed for differentiation of green crackers from conventional crackers.
About 530 emissions testing certificates have been issued to fireworks manufactures for new and improved formulations meeting the stipulated guidelines of green crackers, Harsh Vardhan said.
Nearly 165 fireworks manufactures have been roped in and around 65 more manufacturers are in the process of coming on board to manufacture green crackers.
In 2018, just before Diwali, the Supreme Court had banned conventional firecrackers and ruled that only green crackers with reduced emission will be allowed to be manufactured and sold in the country in order to control the pollution level. It also fixed a two-hour window for the bursting of crackers.
While activists and many others had welcomed the order, traders and a section of people had criticised the curbs. However, most manufacturers and sellers were left clueless at that time and hardly any green crackers were available in the market. Despite the Supreme Court order, there were reports of violation from many areas on Diwali.
Vardhan said on Saturday that due to the ban on firecrackers imposed by the Supreme Court, there was a threat of imminent closure of the entire fireworks industry.
However, "science has once again come to the rescue of the common man and millions of jobs have been saved due to the interventions made by our scientists," Harsh Vardhan said.
"Millions of homes which are dependent on sale and manufacture of fireworks will also rejoice this festival, thanks to our scientists," said Harsh Vardhan Showcasing the crackers, Harsh Vardhan and scientists from CSIR said that they are available in the market at a lesser cost due to the changed composition.
Harsh Vardhan said that CSIR labs have been successful in developing various environment-friendly fireworks such as sound-emitting crackers, flowerpots, pencils, chakkar and sparklers.
"The green crackers will be available at a cheaper price. It will not be more than the existing ones.
The composition of the chemicals has changed which has reduced their cost," said Sadhana Rayalu, chief scientist and head of environmental materials division, CSIR-NEERI.
The scientists, however, did not reveal the exact price of the new crackers.
During the event, Harsh Vardhan also highlighted that the emission testing facilities for the new firecrackers have been set up at CSIR-NEERI as well as their approved National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration (NABL) facilities whose list is available on CSIR NEERI website.
Further, a Raw Materials Compositional Analysis (RACE) facility has been launched in Sivakasi to facilitate manufacturers for testing their raw materials and chemicals.
The Supreme Court's 2018 order -- permitting "green" firecrackers and fixing a two-hour time period for bursting them on Diwali and other festivals -- came on a plea seeking a ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution.
The top court was of the view that there is need to take into account all aspects, including the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people in the country.
On October 9, 2017, the top court had temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali in Delhi-NCR region. Later, the court refused to relax its order while dismissing a plea by traders who had sought permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali on October 19, 2017.
The festive season has commenced this year and Diwali will be celebrated on October 27.