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Eco-friendly firecrackers may soon be a reality thanks to CSIR

Think Change India
posted on 26th October 2018
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CSIR labs have been working on eco-friendly firecrackers and have readied prototypes. You could be lighting a “green” phuljhadi in a couple of years!

As the world turns green, people have been seeing red over crackers. Noise pollution, air pollution, damage to ozone layer…crackers are being equated problems, not celebrations. But green eco-friendly firecrackers may soon be a reality with the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) working on eco-friendly alternatives.

Called “green crackers” by CSIR-NEERI Director Dr Rakesh Kumar, these crackers do not contain any harmful substances, including nitrates, perchlorates, and chlorates that are responsible for air pollution. The components are being replaced by materials that are “less dangerous” and “less harmful” to the atmosphere, Dr Rakesh says.

eco-friendly firecrackers
The green crackers are yet to make their debut as they wait for PESO's certification, source Livemint

These eco-friendly firecrackers will release water vapour as a dust suppressant. This also emerges as a diluent for gaseous emissions; the crackers match the performance of conventional crackers in terms of sound, The Indian Express reports.

The crackers include Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL).

The idea was thought of by Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, who announced it in January this year. Since then, research is being out by a network of CSIR labs, including Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, National Botanical Research Institute, and National Chemical Laboratory.

Harsh Vardhan said, “The idea was to assess if we can replace or reduce dangerous components with materials that are less harmful. We came up with 3-4 formulations and looked at 30-40 percent of active materials that reduce particulate matter.”

The scientists have made flower pots (anaar) that can slash particulate matter by 40 percent. Another joint venture of CSIR-NEERI is now testing the impact of Bijli cracker, with no ash being used as desiccants.

Sound-emitting prototypes that do not emit sulphur dioxide have also been developed. A prototype of flower pots with eco-friendly substitutes for barium nitrate is being tested.

The established results and formulas have been sent to Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), which is responsible for framing rules under the Explosive Acts 1884 and Inflammable Substances Act 1952. The News Minute reports that they can be commercially produced only if the organisation certifies the crackers.

President of Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA) PCA Asaithambi, in an interview with The News Minute, said, “[Green crackers are] something that [the government] must help us with in terms of the formula to be used. CSIR and NEERI have already come down to our factories to do the groundwork and see how crackers can be made more environmentally friendly. But this will take time. We will definitely find a remedy, but it may take up to two years.”

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