Green crackers: Make the idea work
Diwali, one of India’s most grand festivals, is round the corner (October 27). But there is a sense of disappointment and apprehension in the air. One reason is that there is a lack of green crackers in the market. In October 2018, the Supreme Court had ruled that only “green firecrackers” with low emission and within permissible sound limits were to be sold and used. It fixed a time for the use of fireworks between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali. In Delhi, the sale of firecrackers was banned by the SC in November 2016. There was a very good reason for doing this. The capital had witnessed a crippling episode of smog, characterised by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment as the worst in 17 years.
The sense of disappointment and apprehension is also because the government launched the green crackers, which it claims, will release 30% less particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10 into the atmosphere only on October 5. This means the private sector is struggling to get on board. There is also the problem of variety: Several shopkeepers in Delhi have said that they had only a limited repertoire of green crackers and this cannot match the variety of conventional firecrackers, which customers are demanding. When a new system starts, such teething problems are bound to arise. But the citizens have to understand that the ban on polluting crackers will benefit them in the long run. But, at the same time, the government needs to lend a helping hand to industry in order to enable it to make this leap of faith as so many livelihoods are linked to this. What is good for business can also be good for the environment.