Diwali, the festival of lights and happy vibes, is just around the corner and people are already busy making preparations, from cleaning their homes to buying new clothes. Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm across India. This year, the Festival of Lights will be celebrated with much fanfare and fervour on Sunday, November 12. The day celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair and good over evil. Apart from decorating homes with lights and diyas, making rangolis, wearing new clothes and performing puja, fireworks and crackers are also part of the Diwali celebrations.
While lighting crackers can be fun, with growing environmental concerns and the harmful effects of traditional crackers on increasing pollution, it's important to consider the impact on the climate. Many places are now promoting eco-friendly and soundless Diwali celebrations to reduce air and noise pollution. If you still want to burn crackers, green and eco-friendly crackers can be an alternative. Read on to find out more.
Green crackers are defined by the CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR NEERI) as firecrackers with a smaller shell, no ash and/or additives such as dust suppressants to reduce emissions, especially particulate matter. These crackers do not contain the barium compounds that give them their distinctive green colour. Barium is a metal oxide that pollutes the air and causes noise. Burning green crackers produces water vapour, which reduces the amount of dust emitted. Green firecrackers produce sounds between 110 and 125 decibels, while conventional firecrackers produce sounds of around 160 decibels, making them almost 30 per cent less noisy than conventional firecrackers.
Green crackers can be identified by the distinctive green colour logo of CSIR-NEERI and PESO and a Quick Response (QR) code. There are also three categories of green crackers:
SWAS (Safe Water Releaser): It releases water vapour into the atmosphere to reduce dust. It emits 30% less particulate matter and does not contain sulphur or potassium nitrate.
STAR (Safe Thermite Cracker): Contains no potassium nitrate or sulphur, emits less particulate matter and reduces sound intensity.
SAFAL: It has minimal use of aluminium and more magnesium. It produces less noise than traditional firecrackers.
Aside from these three clearly defined categories, buying from authorized stores rather than street vendors is advised. To light these crackers, people should ideally use a long candle or phooljhari and hold them at arm's length, keeping their elbows straight to increase the distance between their body and the cracker.
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