Green or not crackers? List of countries to be vigilant ahead of the festive season with the spread of Covid on the horizon The rise in air pollution due to burning firecrackers in the festive months from October to December has been a concern for all states across India. Last year, the National Green Court (NGT) ordered a ban on the sale and use of crackers in the NCR until November 30 while many states prescribed the use of green crackers that are believed to emit pollutants at a rate of 30% less. than their traditional counterparts.
What are green crackers?
Green crackers are low-emission fireworks that the Supreme Court has allowed for use during festivals, easing the “complete ban” on fireworks previously imposed in 2017. Their chemical composition ensures that the emission of particulate matter into the atmosphere is reduced by suppressing the resulting dust. While ordinary crackers emit about 160 decibels of sound, green crackers emit a rate of 110-125 decibels. Manufacturers need to sign an agreement with CSIR in order to make fireworks using green cracker formula. There are three types of green crackers available in India which are SWAS, STAR and SAFAL. Notably, green crackers also use polluting chemicals such as aluminum, barium, potassium nitrate and carbon, but the amount is reduced which in turn reduces emissions by about 30 percent.
However, although the introduction of green crackers ensures less polluted air we breathe, many states this year are being very cautious given the impact it may have on one’s health with the Covid virus still looming large.
The Rajasthan government on Friday reversed its earlier decision to ban the sale and use of crackers in the state and, in a revised advisory report, indicated that “only” the use of green crackers would be permitted. The government has also issued restrictions on the timing of firecrackers during the festive season. According to the revised advisory, green crackers can go off from 8pm to 10pm during festivals such as Diwali and Gurubarb, from 6am to 8am at Chhath puja, and from 11:55pm to 12:30am on Christmas and New Years . The use of crackers will continue to be banned, however, in places with an air quality index of the “poor” area or lower. The consultant also reported that the crackers can be verified as “green” by scanning the QR code on the box issued by CSIR-NEERI.
Arvind Kejriwal’s government has imposed a complete ban on the storage, sale and use of all types of fireworks until January 1, 2022. Kejriwal said the decision was made after assessing pollution levels in Delhi during the festival for the past three years. Many experts are of the opinion that large-scale celebrations of exploding fireworks may lead to people congregating in violation of social distancing norms but also to a high level of air pollution leading to serious health problems in Delhi. Meanwhile, the Delhi Police have reportedly started cracking down on the distribution of illegal fireworks, the sale of which has increased as Diwali approaches. According to ANI news agency, policemen raided a temple in the Sadar Bazar district of North Delhi this week, confiscating more than 470 kilograms of illegal fireworks, and arrested the property owner in the process.
On the other hand, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin spoke in favor of the use of fireworks. In a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gilot, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Odisha Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, Stalin asked to lift the ban and allow the sale of fireworks that fall within the criteria set by the Supreme Court and the National Green Court.
Yogi Adityanath’s government in Uttar Pradesh, which in 2020 banned the sale and use of fireworks in 13 cities across the state, has not made such an announcement for this year yet. A few weeks ago, the Delhi government urged its neighboring states – Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to announce a complete ban on the buying and selling of crackers, saying that this is leading to a massive increase in pollution levels in the capital. Delhi’s environment minister, Gopal Rai, told ANI: “To reduce vehicle pollution, we have asked the Federal Environment Minister to facilitate public transportation powered by CNG in NCR. We have also demanded that fireworks be banned around Diwali in neighboring countries as well.”
The Haryana state government earlier this month imposed a complete ban on the sale or use of all types of fireworks in 14 districts. The Haryana State Pollution Board has directed all 14 districts to impose a ban on the sale and use of fireworks with immediate effect. The order follows guidance from the NGT and the Supreme Court regarding restrictions on the use of crackers. The Times of India reported that the ban comes in light of the deteriorating air quality experienced in the area during this time of year, which has been exacerbated by the explosion of firecrackers and the burning of straw in the vicinity.
Announcing the October Covid-19 guidelines, the Odisha government banned the use and sale of fireworks in the state during the month. It also banned its sale and use during Diwali last year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “With the aim of protecting the health of the general public and limiting the spread of infection, the sale and use of fireworks will remain prohibited during this festive month,” the government said in its instructions, which will remain in effect from October 1 to November 1.
The Supreme Court had said earlier that the Supreme Court does not oppose the celebration but not at the expense of the lives of other citizens. She said that the celebration does not mean the use of noisy crackers, but can be with “vulgade” and the like that are not loud. Ban shared crackers, if you go to any state, city or any celebration, shared crackers are openly available in the market.