Deepavali is the festival of lights and remarkably celebrated with a variety of crackers. But the traditional crackers pose challenges such as air pollution, noise pollution and health hazard. Amongst the ill effects discussed, exposure to toxic chemicals is the least discussed health problem of traditional crackers.
Toxic metals released by traditional crackers
- White colour is emitted through aluminium, magnesium and titanium of which magnesium leads to mental fume fever
- Orange colour from carbon or iron compounds
- Yellow agents are sodium compounds which causes skin issues
- Blue and red are copper compounds and strontium carbonates causing respiratory tract irritation
- Green agent is barium mono chloride salts or barium nitrate or barium chlorate. Nitrate is shown to cause mental impairment, irritation in mucous membrane, eyes and skin.
- Other than these elements released such as lead impacts the nervous system, cadmium causes anaemia and damage to kidney, etc.
The most vulnerable population are infants, children, pregnant women, elderly and people with other medical conditions.
Green crackers and their benefits
Green crackers are environmentally friendly fireworks that can reduce air pollution caused by traditional firecrackers. They are made from alternative raw materials that have a lower environmental effect and have fewer health hazards. It is developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India. The identification of green crackers can be done through the CSIR NEERI logo.
- Cause 30 per cent less air pollution when compared to traditional crackers
- Reduced emissions and absorbs dust
- Doesn’t contain hazardous elements like barium nitrate.
- Reduction in emission of sound i.e., they produce 100-130 decibels of sound, while regular crackers produce 160-200 decibels
- 15-20 % cheaper than the conventional ones
Categories of Green Crackers
SWAS (safe water releaser)
- It has a small water pocket which get released in the form of vapour when burst
- It suppresses the dust released by releasing water vapour in the air
- It does not contain potassium nitrate and sulphur.
- The particulate dust released will reduce approximately by 30 per cent.
STAR (safe thermite cracker)
- It does not comprise potassium nitrate and sulphur
- Its usage reduces emission in particulate matter by 35-40% along with SO2 and NOx
- It also has reduced sound intensity
SAFAL (safe minimal aluminium)
- It has minimum usage of aluminium (only for initiation)
- It replaces aluminium with magnesium
- It shows reduction in particulate matter emission by 35-40 %
- It shows reduction in noise pollution
According to the National Green Tribunal, green crackers are presently permitted only in cities and towns where air quality is moderate or poor.