THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 30 October 2020 ‘Green’ crackers to make full-fledged Delhi debut(The Hindu)

‘Green’ crackers to make full-fledged Delhi debut(The Hindu)

Mains Paper 3: Environment 
Prelims level: Green crackers
Mains level: About Green crackers and its characteristics 


  • Delhi is set for its first full-fledged date with ‘green’ crackers this Deepavali. Aban on fireworks was imposed in 2018 and in 2019 only ‘green’ crackers were allowed, butthe permission had come too late for manufacturers to ensure their availability on time.

Key highlights:

  • Green crackers are reduced emission crackers.
  • According to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, firecrackers that cause 30-35% lower emission of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and 35-40% loweremission of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide are categorized as “greencrackers"- thereby reducing air pollution.
  • QR codes on green cracker packages will help consumers scan and identify counterfeits.
  • Supreme Court in 2018 banned the sale, use and manufacture of crackers that weren’t‘green’. It banned the use of barium nitrate, a key pollutant in crackers (amongothers).
  • The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a part of theCouncil of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), was asked by SC to facilitate thedevelopment of green crackers.

Characteristics of Green Crackers:

  • Green crackers have a small shell size compared to traditional crackers.
  • Use of barium salt and ash as a drying agent is banned for such crackers.
  • They have low content of aluminium.
  • They are produced using less harmful raw materials.
  • They have additives which reduce emissions by suppressing dust/ reducingparticulate matter.
  • They don't contain banned chemicals such as lithium, arsenic, barium and lead.
  • They couldn’t be loud beyond a certain limit.
  • Their clinical composition of fireworks will have to be reviewed by the Petroleum andExplosives Safety Organisation (PESO).

Efforts of CSIR-NEERI:

  • The mainstay of the cracker manufacturing process, barium nitrate aids in makingexplosion in traditional fire cracker controlled, effective and convenient.
  • The Nagpur-based NEERI came out with formulations that substituted barium nitrate(Used to produce colourful flames in crackers) with potassium nitrate and zeolite (Itdrastically reduces nitrogen and sulphur emissions in the air).
  • These crackers have been named as safe water releaser (SWAS), safe minimal aluminium(SAFAL) and safe thermite cracker (STAR).
  • It has unique property of releasing water vapour and /or air as dust suppressantand diluent for gaseous emissions and matching performance in sound withconventional crackers.
  • It has a mixture of water and lime which is chemically stored in the cracker.
  • When lit, the effulgence also triggers this water and lime mixture and the resultantmoisture wets the dust-and-smoke particles.
  • SWAS crackers eliminates usage of (KNO3) Potassium nitrate and Sulphurwithconsequent reduction in particulate matter (30-35%) SO2 and NOx. It has matchingsound intensity with commercial crackers in the range of 105-110 dBA.
  • STAR eliminates usage of KNO3 and S with consequent reduction in particulate matter(35-40%), SO2 and NOx. It has matching sound intensity with commercial crackers in therange of 105-110 dBA.
  • SAFAL has minimal usage of aluminium (only in flash powder for initiation) withconsequent significant reduction in particulate matter (35-40 %) compared tocommercial crackers. It has matching sound intensity with commercial crackers in therange of 110-115 dBA.
  • Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) has been approached to analyseand test SWAS/STAR/SAFAL from point of view of safety, stability and other relatedissues.

Why is burning of fire crackers harmful?

  • Burning of fireworks releases pollutants like Sulfur dioxide, Carbon dioxide, Carbonmonoxide, suspended particles and metals like aluminium, manganese andcadmium which may lead to serious health hazards even cancer.

Way ahead:

  • Traders aren’t betting on heavy sales and have invested cautiously. “This year, due to the lockdown, the manufacturing of fireworks remained suspended. 
  • The lockdown was lifted only during the rainy season that is unfavourable for manufacture of firecrackers. 
  • Supply is scarce and due to economic slowdown; we are not expecting buyers because green fireworks are somewhat expensive compared to conventional fireworks.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme (APFP), consider the following statements:
1. Under the APFP, one thousand fellowships will be provided exclusively to the ASEAN citizens.
2. It is funded by the Government of India.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) What do you mean by green crackers? What are the characteristics of it?