How green are green crackers?

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  • Green crackers claim to be free of pollutants like barium nitrate, lithium, aluminum, sulfur and potassium nitrate.
  • Delhi has imposed a complete ban on crackers, including green crackers.
  • Green crackers with fake QR codes, putting the initiative under scrutiny.

With Diwali less than two days away, Indians are gearing up for the Festival of Lights, with some wanting to be eco-friendly by using green crackers.

The Supreme Court of India banned traditional crackers containing pollution causing barium nitrate in 2018, promoting the use of green crackers instead.

Claiming to be ecological, these green crackers are also more expensive than traditional crackers.

“This year we only have 70% of the stock compared to last year because the majority of the major cracker brands have supplied less crackers due to their transition to green crackers. Green crackers use nitrate compared to other crackers which use barium salts. Nitrates are in short supply, so the whole cracker industry is affected, making limited supply expensive,” said Praveen Kumar T of Crackers Mela.

In September of this year, the Delhi Pollution Control Board announced a complete ban on popping crackers – including green crackers – until January 2023. This is legally challenged by green cracker makers in Delhi.

Assamese, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan has permitted the use of green crackers while West Bengal has used green crackers during Durga Puja festivities. Punjab has approved popping green crackers for two hours on Diwali.

However, the chemicals present on the so-called green cracker packs have made green crackers an oxymoron for the ₹3,000 crore cracker industry in India.

Are green crackers actually green?

Need green crackers in india

In May 2019, the Supreme Court approved the use of green crackers to control pollution. Green crackers are certified by the CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute.

During the pandemic last year, the Supreme Court tightened its ban on crackers for cities with low air quality indexes (AQIs). The air quality was more harmful for older citizens and people who have recently recovered from Covid-19. This is especially true for the nation’s capital, where burning Punjabi paddy has made the air thicker and harder to breathe.

In an interview with TOI, Dr Mukul Kumar Singh, an epidemiologist at Nalanda Medical College, Patna, said: “People should avoid fireworks during Diwali, especially those with asthma, citizens over 60 years old, young children or who have recovered from severe symptoms. of Covid-19. »

Delhi-NCR is already the most polluted region in northern India, according to a Center for Science and Environment (CSE) report released in May this year.

The eco-friendly alternatives during Diwali are green crackers, but there are claims that dismiss their authenticity.

Are green crackers actually green?


The promises of green crackers are many – no chemicals like potassium nitrate, barium nitrate, sulphur, lithium and aluminum, the release of water vapor instead for particle reduction and 30% less emissions.

Only 30 government-registered manufacturers can sell green crackers in India. More than 2,311 kg of firecrackers were seized ahead of Diwali in Delhi. Upon inspection, not 1 kg turned out to be “green”.

The only way to loosely test if these crackers are genuine is to check CSIR-NEERI stamps or QR codes. Another way is to look at the packaging and see if it has the list of chemical ingredients.

To analyze the effectiveness of these “green” crackers, Awaaz Foundation with Maharashtra Pollution Control Board bought a bunch of green crackers before Diwali in Mumbai last year, testing the reality of noise and emissions from them at RFC ground in Chembur.

“Few have QR codes next to the CSIR NEERI stamp of green crackers but the QR codes are not registered with NEERI and are fake. Even the banned chemical ‘barium nitrate’ is openly listed on the boxes of some packets purporting to be green crackers,” said Sumaira Abdulalihead of the Awaaz Foundation in a report.

In another letter dated December 2020, addressed to former Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackarey, Abdulali wrote: “We found that even the 12 varieties of ‘green crackers’ contained toxic chemicals including prohibited barium nitrate, other nitrates and sulfates.

There are other green cracker alternatives by companies like Bombay Greens and Plantable Patakha who process cracker paper into a plant, but the cost starts from ₹500. The use of green crackers can therefore simply be green in color and not in spirit.

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