The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has developed ‘green crackers’ that produce reduced emission of harmful chemicals keeping in mind the alarming rise in pollution around Diwali every year. The Union Minister for Health and Family, Dr Harsh Vardhan tweeted that these green crackers ‘will reduce the dust & smoke associated with crackers by 30% and also reduce sulphur oxide & nitrous oxide emissions by 20%’.

What are ‘green crackers’?

Green crackers do not contain banned chemicals such as lithium, arsenic, barium and lead. They are called Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL) crackers. Green crackers release water vapour and do not allow dust particles to rise. About 230 MoUs and 165 non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) were signed with firework manufacturers to produce green crackers.

Green crackers have been tested for colour, smoke, brightness and particulate matter in order to check for reduction in emission of smoke and noise. These crackers also need to be approved by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO). The crackers have been developed to reduce particulate matter by 30 percent by using potassium nitrate as an oxidant.

In 2018 last year, the Supreme Court of India had ordered that only crackers with reduced emission and ‘green crackers’ can be manufactured and sold. The use of fireworks was also reduced to 8 to 10 pm in 2018. CSIR has developed new formulations that were based on the suggestions of the Supreme Court. The environment-friendly green crackers have been manufactured in India and been made available in the market. Green crackers will carry a green logo and a quick response (QR) code to differentiate them from regular crackers and also making it easier to track their usage through smartphones.

Green crackers will reduce dust and smoke associated with crackers by 30% and also reduce sulphur oxide and nitrous oxide emissions by 20%. CSIR labs have successfully developed various environment-friendly fireworks such as sound emitting crackers, flowerpots, pencils, chakkar and sparklers.