Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022

Diwali 2021: What Are Electronic Crackers And Are They Truly Green?

Electronic firecrackers are devices that can be operated through remote controls once plugged into an electricity source.

Thinking of trying E-crackers this Diwali? All you need to know about them PTI

With several states banning the use of firecrackers in India ahead of Diwali 2021, firecracker enthusiasts are now turning to eco-friendly or permissible alternatives.

And electronic firecrackers are one of the most popular choices that have emerged in recent times. These decadent "firecrackers" are not just beautiful to look at but can also be much less harmful to the environment than actual firecrackers that cause smoke and particulate pollution.

What are electronic firecrackers? 

Electronic firecrackers are devices that can be operated through remote controls once plugged into an electricity source. Resembling light fixtures, these devices produce the sound and light of a firecracker without actually "bursting". The remote controls often come with different sound settings like "mirchi ladi" or "anar" etc that replicate the sounds of these particular crackers. 

Who manufactures these products?

Manufactured en-masse by China, E-crackers first emerged in the Indian markets a few years ago and have been growing in popularity since 2016. In cities like Delhi where the Air Quality Index (AQI) suffers drastically after Diwali, e-crackers are a popular alternative. These can be purchased online or at local electronics markets. While a set of e-crackers can set the customer back by Rs 2,500-3,000 per piece, the good news is that they are reusable. Be sure, however, to check for warranties with your online or local seller since Chinese mass-produced products tend to have an irregular shelf life.

How do electronic crackers work?

E-crackers use simple circuitry to produce brilliant results. These devices usually consist of pods that contain LED light fixtures. These pods also contain generators that spark at random intervals when plugged into electricity, thus producing the sound and light effect of firecrackers. 

Are electronic crackers truly pollution-free?

Well, not entirely. Only E-crackers made of LED lights can be considered eco-friendly as LED bulbs conserve energy. However, a 2016 research published in Science magazine has shown that LED lights too contribute toward light pollution by increasing the amount of light produced. In fact, several subsequent papers have shown the adverse effect of artificially produced light on the day-night cycle of the planet.

As an alternative to firecrackers, however, can-crackers can be a much more viable option for Diwali when it comes to the environment. Nevertheless, electronic crackers cause their fair share of sound pollution since they replicate the noise caused by crackers.  

Firecracker ban in India

While the Supreme Court of India initially imposed a complete ban on the bursting of firecrackers, it later amended the blanket ban and allowed certain types of firecrackers to be burst. 

In its latest ruling, the apex court said that only firecrackers that contain barium salt are banned. However, several states have imposed blanket or sporadic bans on the bursting of firecrackers and have only allowed the bursting of "green crackers". These include states and union territories like Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.  Meanwhile, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana and Assam have imposed a complete ban on crackers. In these places, e-crackers can be the only alternative to bursting firecrackers.