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17 Oct

‘Green crackers’

What are green crackers?

‘Green crackers’ are low-emission fireworks permitted by the Supreme Court for celebrations to a moderate degree during festivals, relaxing the ‘complete ban’ on fireworks previously imposed in 2017. These green crackers, researched and developed by experts at the CSIR-NEERI (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research – National Environmental Engineering Research Institute), a government-funded research instutite in the field of environmental science, have a small shell size compared to normal crackers.

These green crackers are produced with less harmful raw materials, in accordance with instructions issued by the top court, and are made in a way that suppresses the dust when they are burnt – thus reducing emissions. They also do not contain harmful chemicals such as lithium, arsenic, barium, and lead and instead release water vapour that does not allow the dust to rise. Although still impactful on the climate to an extent, these green crackers are believed to cause 30 per cent less particulate matter pollution than traditional crackers and are thus considered generally less harmful than their conventional alternatives.

Rajasthan to allow ‘only’ green crackers

The Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government on Friday reversed a decision to ban the sale and use of crackers in the state and instead in a revised advisory said that “only” the green crackers would be allowed. The government also issued the restricted timing for the bursting of crackers during the festive season.

According to the revised advisory, green crackers can be burst from 8pm to 10pm during festivals like Diwali and Guruparb, from 6am to 8am on Chhath puja, and from 11:55pm to 12:30am on Christmas and New Year. The use of crackers would continue to be banned, however, at places having air quality index in the “poor” zone or below. The advisory further informed that the crackers could be verified as “green” by scanning the QR code on the box issued by the CSIR-NEERI.

Complete ban on bursting, sale of firecrackers in Delhi

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has ordered a complete ban on the sale and bursting of firecrackers in the national capital till January 1, 2022. According to the order, several experts have indicated a possibility of another surge of Covid-19 and largescale celebrations by bursting of firecrackers will result not only in agglomeration of people in violation of social distancing norms but also a high level of air pollution leading to serious health issues in Delhi.

The bursting of firecrackers under the prevalent pandemic crisis is not favourable for the cause of larger community health given the significant relationship between air pollution and respiratory infections, it said.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police was reported to have initiated crackdowns on the distribution of illegal fireworks, the sale of which has increased as Diwali is just around the corner. According to the ANI news agency, the cops raided a godown in north Delhi’s Sadar Bazar area this week seizing more than 470kg of illegal fireworks, arresting the owner of the property in the process.

Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin urges counterparts to relax ban, allow green crackers

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, on the other hand, has urged his Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Odisha counterparts to seriously consider the sale of green crackers in their respective territories, following which Rajasthan eased its norms.

In a letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, Stalin had requested to lift the ban and allow the sale of firecrackers that fall within the norms set by the Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal.

What did the Supreme Court say?

Earlier in July, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea challenging the National Green Tribunal’s order for the imposition of a complete ban on the sale and use of all firecrackers during the Covid-19 pandemic in cities and said that no further clarification or deliberation was required. The apex court said that the authorities may permit the sale and use of firecrackers as per the category of AQI in the cities.

The bench said that manufacturing or production of firecrackers was allowed and those who wanted to use firecrackers could do so with permission depending upon the category of AQI. It clarified that the ban is in places where air quality is poor and there is no ban on the manufacture.

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