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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Ahead of Diwali, Centre launches green crackers

Last year, the Supreme Court banned excessively polluting conventional firecrackers to reduce air pollution while allowing the manufacture and sale of “green crackers” that have low emissions of light, sound and harmful chemicals.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2019 08:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Union minister of health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan launched green crackers, in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
Union minister of health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan launched green crackers, in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, October 5, 2019. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
         

Union minister of science and technology Harsh Vardhan on Saturday launched environment-friendly green firecrackers with an overall 30% reduction in hazardous particulate matter, or air pollutants, compared to conventional firecrackers that have been banned by the Supreme Court.

The new green crackers will be available in the markets in time for Diwali, which falls this year on October 27.

Last year, the Supreme Court banned excessively polluting conventional firecrackers to reduce air pollution while allowing the manufacture and sale of “green crackers” that have low emissions of light, sound and harmful chemicals. Scientists of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) developed new and improved formulations for the fireworks in compliance with the court’s directive.

“The government was aware of the disappointment of people, especially children, when conventional crackers were banned. Diwali is a happy occasion and we didn’t want people to remain sad, so I urged the scientific community to come up with a solution. I am happy to announce that in just about a year’s time, we have been able to develop these environment –friendly crackers,” said Harsh Vardhan.

The main focus has been on new formulations without or minimal use of the harmful barium nitrate that emits toxic fumes known to cause damage to vital organs such as the lungs, heart and brain.

The new formulations have been developed for popular fireworks such as sparklers and flower pots and noisy crackers that go off with a bang.

“In most of these firecrackers, barium has been either eliminated or significantly reduced because of its heavy presence in the air in severely polluted cities like Delhi. Apart from barium, we have also minimised usage of aluminium, sulphur dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen oxide (NOx). The overall reduction has been between 30% and 35% and in some cases even 90%,” said Dr Rakesh Kumar, director, CSIR.

“The cost of these crackers is more or less the same as we were very clear since beginning that we don’t want these products to be pocket-heavy,” he added.

The government has already signed 230 memorandums of understanding and 165 non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with firecracker manufacturers who have been given permission to make these crackers. The NDAs are to prevent manufacturers from revealing the exact formulations that go into the green crackers. The government will be certifying these products with QR codes so as to prevent the sale of any counterfeit products.

“Our aim was to provide an alternative and we have. The research is an ongoing process and as we go along we will further improve these products,” said Harsh Vardhan.

First Published: Oct 05, 2019 23:45 IST

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