For 'eco-friendly' patakha lovers'

Light Up

If you enjoy bursting fire-crackers on Diwali and also happen to be an environment-friendly person, you need not compromise this year.

Along with traditional firecrackers that add to air and noise pollution, some shops are also offering eco-friendly patakhas like charkhi that emits gulal, electronic ladi and balloons which only emit light – no sound or smoke.

Though it would be incorrect to say that these are 100 per cent environment-friendly, it is also true that these crackers create less air and sound pollution than good old patakhas such as gola bam, ladiyan, rockets, anar and others. Available only with a few dealers, these help you contributing towards less pollution.

The safest of all is an electronic ladi that creates a sound exactly like the normal ladi but emits no smoke. Controlled by a remote, this ladi is more like a vine of light that people can use to decorate their homes with. It cost a cool Rs 1600 and is far more durable unlike traditional ladiyan.

Mukesh, among the few shopkeepers in Sadar Bazaar to stock and sell these crackers, says, “Lights inside electronic ladi blink along with the sound. This does not emit smoke.” Then there are other crackers that create a bit of air or noise pollution but far less when compared. For instance, a charkhi that emanates gulaal. It is lit up like a regular charkhi but along with some smoke, it emits gulaal and is a visual delight. A pack of 10 costs Rs 180.

Mukesh also categorises a firecracker named Wishing Diwali Balloon under eco-friendly patakhas. He claims it goes up in the air more than five km! “As you fire it, it goes very high in the air and opens up like a parachute candle which has ‘Wishing Diwali’ written on it. (Who reads the message at that height is anybody’s guess) It has come to market this year only. It is less smoky than rockets,” says Mukesh, who has been selling firecrackers for the last decade.

Another innovative cracker that promises to be a treat visually is Butterfly. This mini sky shooter emits colour-changing butterflies sans sound pollution. Since the concept of these less noisy firecrackers is new, most shopkeepers are sticking to good old patakhas.

Khemchand Shrivastav, co-owner of Royal Fireworks, one of the oldest firecracker shops in Delhi says, “Crackers which come from Sivkasi, the hub of firecrackers industry, are not eco-friendly. Chinese firecrackers cause a lot more harm but we don’t keep them as it is illegal.”

Even though they are being sold off as environment-friendly crackers, environmentalists have little faith. Anumita Roy Chowdhury, head of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)’s air pollution control unit, says, “Electronic crackers are fine but those which are colourful and smokeless can be harmful. Many of them create no sound. They might be noise-free but if there is a smoke and that too colourful, it can be toxic.

The best way to minimise Diwali air pollution is to curtail the number of firecrackers that people burst.”

Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, Awaaz Foundation, says, “The sky shooters might do less harm in villages where there are no sky scrapers and big buildings. But in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, even they directly impact the people both in terms of air and sound pollution.”


If you enjoy bursting fire-crackers on Diwali and also happen to be an environment-friendly person, you need not compromise this year. Along with traditional firecrackers that add to air and noise pollution, some shops are also offering eco-friendly patakhas like charkhi that emits gulal, electronic ladi and balloons which only emit light – no sound or smoke.
Though it would be incorrect to say that these are 100 per cent environment-friendly, it is also true that these crackers create less air and sound pollution than good old patakhas such as gola bam, ladiyan, rockets, anar and others. Available only with a few dealers, these help you contributing towards less pollution.
The safest of all is an electronic ladi that creates a sound exactly like the normal ladi but emits no smoke. Controlled by a remote, this ladi is more like a vine of light that people can use to decorate their homes with. It cost a cool Rs 1600 and is far more durable unlike traditional ladiyan.
Mukesh, among the few shopkeepers in Sadar Bazaar to stock and sell these crackers, says, “Lights inside electronic ladi blink along with the sound. This does not emit smoke.” Then there are other crackers that create a bit of air or noise pollution but far less when compared. For instance, a charkhi that emanates gulaal. It is lit up like a regular charkhi but along with some smoke, it emits gulaal and is a visual delight. A pack of 10 costs Rs 180.
Mukesh also categorises a firecracker named Wishing Diwali Balloon under eco-friendly patakhas. He claims it goes up in the air more than five km! “As you fire it, it goes very high in the air and opens up like a parachute candle which has ‘Wishing Diwali’ written on it. (Who reads the message at that height is anybody’s guess) It has come to market this year only. It is less smoky than rockets,” says Mukesh, who has been selling firecrackers for the last decade.
Another innovative cracker that promises to be a treat visually is Butterfly. This mini sky shooter emits colour-changing butterflies sans sound pollution. Since the concept of these less noisy firecrackers is new, most shopkeepers are sticking to good old patakhas.
Khemchand Shrivastav, co-owner of Royal Fireworks, one of the oldest firecracker shops in Delhi says, “Crackers which come from Sivkasi, the hub of firecrackers industry, are not eco-friendly. Chinese firecrackers cause a lot more harm but we don’t keep them as it is illegal.”
Even though they are being sold off as environment-friendly crackers, environmentalists have little faith. Anumita Roy Chowdhury, head of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)’s air pollution control unit, says, “Electronic crackers are fine but those which are colourful and smokeless can be harmful. Many of them create no sound. They might be noise-free but if there is a smoke and that too colourful, it can be toxic. The best way to minimise Diwali air pollution is to curtail the number of firecrackers that people burst.”
Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, Awaaz Foundation, says, “The sky shooters might do less harm in villages where there are no sky scrapers and big buildings. But in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, even they directly impact the people both in terms of air and sound pollution.”
Kusum Kanojia

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