Happy Diwali: What firecrackers should you buy this year?https://indianexpress.com/article/parenting/family/diwali-green-eco-friendly-firecrackers-5416387/

Happy Diwali: What firecrackers should you buy this year?

Diwali 2018: When Express Parenting got in touch with some of the cracker sellers, they seemed unsure about what green crackers really were.

firecrackers
Families usually burst crackers on Diwali. (Source: Getty Images)

Diwali 2018: The Supreme Court has permitted the sale and bursting of green firecrackers. But do you know what green crackers are?

Bursting firecrackers has long been one of the key attractions for children during Diwali. With the rapidly increasing levels of air pollution in the country, it only seems fair that the Supreme Court has now permitted the sale and purchase of “green” or “eco-friendly” crackers only, and for a limited period of time. This means that families will be able to enjoy the tradition of bursting crackers with children without causing much damage to the environment.

What are eco-friendly or green crackers?

According to the apex court, only green crackers and those with reduced emission and low decibel limits are permitted to be manufactured and sold. The crackers manufactured need to follow the norms laid down by PESO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation), which will also review the clinical composition of fireworks, particularly reducing the aluminum content in them. Series crackers or “lari” have been banned as they cause a lot of air and noise pollution.

Source: Getty Images

While the Supreme Court’s order was appreciated by many as a step towards controlling pollution levels, it left a lot of us wondering how to exactly identify green or eco-friendly crackers in the market.

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When Express Parenting got in touch with some of the cracker sellers, they seemed unsure about what green crackers really were.

“Who knows what green crackers are? At present, the department of explosives has not given us a definition for green firecrackers. We have already manufactured a lot of crackers in the past 11 months and the court’s judgement, just two weeks ahead of Diwali, would mean a big loss for us. We don’t really understand the judgement,” expressed Dr Ganesan Panjurajan, Director, Vinayaga Sony Fireworks Group, Sivakasi.

In such cases, how do you ensure your family and children are not exposed to polluting firecrackers?

Turns out, no eco-friendly or green crackers are manufactured in the country at present. “It is a concept, a goal that we want to achieve in future. It translates into fireworks with comparatively less emissions,” K Mariappan, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association, told Express Parenting.

‘At least four years for green crackers’

“Three months ago, the Fireworks Industry approached the Minister of Environment as well as for Science & Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan to help the industry. He offered to instigate research studies to reduce emissions from fireworks. He ordered the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) a Govt Body with 44 laboratories all over India. The CSIR was asked to take the assistance and collaboration of the Fireworks Industry and of the PESO. But the CSIR did not consult the Industry nor the PESO, and submitted an interim report to MoFCC, which was submitted to the apex court,” informed Mariappan.

Mariappan also added that it will take nothing less than four years to finally manufacture green crackers. “The recommendations of CSIR should first pass the safety norms of PESO and put to test on factory level. This trial and error method will take a lot of time,” he said.

firecrackers
Source: Getty Images

So, what crackers can you burst this year?

This year, purchase crackers with reduced emission for your children to avoid causing damage to the environment. Here are some of the firecrackers you can use:

1. 12-star Sky Shot firecracker: This cracker contains flash powder and is wrapped in paper with a fuse attached to it. When the fuse is lit, it goes up to the sky and bursts to give different colours. This cracker contains less harmful compounds and emits lesser smoke.

2. No chakkars or pot crackers: With the ban on barium salts by the apex court, chakkars and pot crackers can be avoided, both of which contain compounds of the same.

3. Red, blue, purple or white colour-producing crackers: Green colour-producing crackers emit more smoke thereby causing more air pollution, suggested Dr Panjurajan. Red, blue or white-colour producing crackers, on the other hand, are made without barium nitrate and are accepted forms of firecrackers, as per the latest judgement.

4. Electrical crackers: As the name itself suggest, electrical crackers are fitted with an electronic circuit which produces sound when switched on, without emitting any smoke. These crackers are a little expensive (starting from about Rs 500 per piece) but are reusable.

5. 3D crackers: These crackers come with a pair of 3D glasses and are free from air and noise pollution.

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6. Home-made crackers: One can also make simple firecrackers at home using basic household items like paper and match sticks that are less harmful to the environment.