What Is “Green Firecrackers”? Is There Such A Thing As An Environmentally Safe Firework?
- Firecrackers are made of highly toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, chromium, aluminium, magnesium, nitrates, carbon, copper, potassium, sodium, zinc and manganese. These metals, released in the air when the firecracker explodes, can trigger an asthma attack, and cause severe headache and respiratory problems. They can also contribute to a chronic cough.
- A project led by the CSIR-NEERI has come up with green firecrackers, which will not contain, or have in reduced amounts, polluting chemicals such as aluminium, potassium nitrate and carbon. By doing so, the government claims, these fireworks will release 30 per cent less particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10 into the atmosphere. That means, emissions will come down by 15 to 30 per cent. Also, CSIR has developed flower pots/anaars that can reduce particulate matter by 40 per cent.
- The eco-friendly firecrackers are named Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL). These will release water vapour into the air as a dust suppressant and dilute gaseous emissions.
- These will not contain the banned substance barium, which is used as an agent to get the colour green. Barium can cause burns, poisoning and deaths.
- The CSIR-CEERI in Pilani is testing e-crackers or electric fireworks, though preliminary response from manufacturers is that it won’t sound like the real thing, but like a recording of firecrackers played on a loudspeaker.
The chest puffs up in excitement as the ‘rocket’ explodes in a ball of iridescent sparkles. Happy Diwali/Deepavali! Greetings are exchanged almost in a daze, gasping for oxygen, eyes smarting, shrouded in a haze of smoke as more missiles fly up into the night sky, and the irreverent ‘atom bomb’ splits the ears—human and animal alike. And the incandescent ‘flower pot’ throws up another round of gaseous illumination. Who named that piece of irrepressible rudeness an ‘anaar’? The sweet pomegranate is known for its anti-oxidant properties, never for causing harm to the lungs—those air pumps working obediently, tirelessly from cradle to crib, unless obstructed by an anaar of 10 seconds of fame and flame.