Mission on pollution-free firecrackers launched
Launching the mission, science and technology and environment minister Harsh Vardhan said the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is “uniquely positioned” to come up with a solution.Updated: Jan 06, 2018 09:24 IST
Science and technology minister, Harsh Vardhan on Friday launched a fast track mission aimed at the development of pollution-free crackers.
Addressing a brainstorming meeting on non-polluting firecrackers in New Delhi, Vardhan, who also handles the charge of the environment ministry, called on science and technology institutes to collaborate to tackle the issue but noted that the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is leading the initiative, is “uniquely positioned” to come up with a solution.
On Friday, the apex pollution regulator, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) told the Supreme Court that while the cracker bursting did cause higher air pollution, it did not “translate into any significant illness requiring immediate medical attention”.
The apex court has asked it to investigate whether the ban on the sale of crackers imposed during Diwali 2017 had an impact on air pollution.
“Several CSIR laboratories have come together and are putting together a robust S&T (science and technology) strategy for the development of eco-friendly firecrackers and fireworks,” Girish Sahni, director general of CSIR, said, adding that the first phase will cover the reduction of pollutants, while the long term focus will be on removal of pollutants from the compositions.
A Fireworks Research and Development Centre in Sivakasi, which is the hub of fireworks manufacturers in India, has already been working on this for a decade without any significant breakthrough.
The Supreme Court ban hit the fireworks industry hard in 2017 and workers there have been on strike.
T Siva, a Rajya Sabha member of DMK from Tamil Nadu, told Rajya Sabha on Friday that 840 fireworks factories had shut down in the area, affecting the livelihood of eight lakh people.
The CSIR has set up an expert committee to explore possible strategies for development of firecrackers. CSIR is planning to meet with firecracker manufacturers to get their feedback as well.