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Tech for ‘Green’ Firecrackers Available, But You Can’t Buy Them This Diwali: Environment Minister

The Supreme Court, while restricting the use of firecrackers during all events to a two-hour window between 8-10pm, had ordered that only crackers that are less polluting can be manufactured and sold.

Aniruddha Ghosal | News18.com@aniruddhg1

Updated:November 6, 2018, 3:33 PM IST
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New Delhi: Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan said it was unlikely that “green” firecrackers would be available in time for Diwali, despite the Supreme Court allowing only the use of fireworks that produce less emissions.

Vardhan, speaking at a press conference in Delhi, said the technology to make these “green” firecrackers is out there and it’s natural that manufacturers will start making it soon.

The Supreme Court, while restricting the use of firecrackers during all events to a two-hour window between 8-10pm, had ordered that only crackers that are less polluting can be manufactured and sold.

These 'green' crackers are named thus, not because they don't pollute at all - but because there is reduction in harmful emissions. These, Vardhan claimed, have shown a decrease in emission of particulate matter, smoke, noise and toxic gases.

"First we set up an emission testing facility at NEERI in Nagpur, where all the existing fire crackers and green crackers were tested. Then we tested with different chemicals for things like colour, smoke, ability to burst," he said, adding that the existing firecrackers had four key components that were replaced - aluminium, barium, potasium nitrate and carbon - all of which are polluting and were replaced.

Potasium nitrate (a known carcinogenic) has been removed or reduced, barium (leads to heart and kidney damage) has been removed, aluminium (leads to skin issues and bioaccumulation) has been replaced with less toxic metals like magnesium, he said.

But these 'green' fire crackers won’t be available in the market for Diwali and the existing firecrackers will continue to pollute and spew toxic metals into the air, admitted an official.

"It is a slow process. This year, Delhi and the rest of the country will primarily use the existing firecrackers. Hopefully, with the restrictions on the amount of time you can burn firecrackers, the health impacts will be somewhat mitigated," said an official of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).

Vardhan added that the government didn't want to give a "shock treatment" to manufacturers and had kept them in the loop throughout the process of creating these “green” crackers.

"We didn't want to give a shock treatment to the manufacturers but we are moving in the direction that is less harmful since it is also an emotional issue...they have to apply for the license from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) for licenses and then they can make these fire crackers," he said, adding that the technology was created while keeping in mind the existing manufacturing facilities at different fire cracker factories.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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