With days to go for Diwali, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said it was unlikely that green crackers would be available in time for the festival. The Supreme Court last week restricted the bursting of firecrackers to two hours and allowed the use of less polluting “green” fireworks. Speaking at a press conference, Vardhan said that the technology and know-how was available on how to make green crackers, and this has been shared with firecracker manufacturers. “We have pursued this with manufacturers but we are also aware that this should not impact their livelihoods. So it will be done in a phased manner,” he said.
The government did not want to give “shock treatment” to manufacturers, he added.
The apex court has restricted the use of firecrackers during all events to a two-hour window from 8 pm to 10 pm. Green crackers refer to those that are less harmful and emit less particulate matter.
Vardhan on Monday said that a network of CSIR labs have worked towards developing crackers with less emission, smoke and noise.
He said that the existing firecrackers have four major components — aluminium, barium, potassium nitrate and carbon — which scientists have worked towards replacing with less harmful substances. The new green crackers prepared by CSIR-NEERI along with some fireworks manufacturers from Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu have reduced or replaced these substances, he said.
Vardhan said that the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) has also been provided details of the green crackers. “They (manufacturers) have to apply for the licence from PESO and then they can make these crackers,” he said.