CSIR develops green crackers

But wont be available this Diwali

Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan addresses a press conference on new technology developed by the CSIR for firecrackers with reduced emission levels, in New Delhi, on Monday. PTI

With Diwali celebrations receiving flak due to emission from firecrackers, Indian scientists have developed a set of green crackers that not only emit less smoke and polluting gases but will be easy on the pocket too.

Unfortunately, the green crackers are unlikely to be available for this year's Diwali (November 7) as manufacturers, mostly clustered in Tamil Nadu, are yet to get a license from the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation that regulates the industry.

Two laboratories under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) — National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur and Central Electrochemical Research Institute, Karaikudi — took the lead in developing the eco-friendly crackers that pollute the air less by releasing less harmful chemicals and 30-40% less particulate matters.

“Their cost is also 15-20% lower than comparable firecrackers available in the market,” Union Science Minister Harsh Vardhan said here on Monday.

Working on the green firecrackers project for the past one year, the scientists created three such items named safe water releaser (SWAS), safe minimal aluminium (SAFAL) and safe thermite cracker (STAR). In addition, they also replaced the harmful chemicals in the flower pots — an all-time favourite among the children.

“Barium, Aluminium and potassium nitrate in flower pots have been replaced with zeolite, which is available aplenty. It leads to a significant reduction in the amount of oxides of nitrogen and sulphur that pollute the air. It also reduces the cost,” said NEERI scientist Sadhna Rayalu, who led the team.

When NEERI researchers lit the green flower pots at their campus on Monday, they gave a matching performance as compared to any other commercial cracker but released less amount of smoke. The demonstration was shown live on video to the Delhi audience.

While two associations of firecracker manufacturers from Tamil Nadu were in the loop for the development work, NEERI director Rakesh Kumar said the manufacturers at Sivakasi are yet to obtain a license from the PESO for commercial production of green firecrackers.

The CSIR team didn't carry out any supply-chain analysis for the manufacturers but claimed that alternate chemicals are widely available.

In an order last week, the Supreme Court held that crackers with reduced emission (improved crackers) and green crackers only would be permitted to be manufactured and sold.

The ruling has impacted the Rs 6,000 crore firecracker industry in Tamil Nadu that provide livelihood options to nearly five lakh workers.

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