- Conservation and pollution related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: What are green crackers? How are they different from traditional ones? How do crackers get different colours?
For Mains: Need for green crackers, observations made by the Supreme Court, what lies ahead?
Context: Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed green crackers, which are new and improved formulations of the previous sound-emitting crackers and other fireworks.
What are green crackers?
They are less harmful and less dangerous than the conventional ones. They are the crackers with reduced emission and decibel level. They are known as ‘green’ firecrackers because they have a chemical formulation that produces water molecules, which substantially reduces emission levels and absorbs dust.
- It promises a reduction in particulate matters and harmful gases, like nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide, by 30- 35 per cent.
- The green crackers will be 25-30 per cent cheaper to manufacture and manufacturers would not have to make any changes in their facilities.
- With concern over pollution in major cities growing, there was a demand for a ban on firecrackers.
- Legal battles to this end have been going on for about a decade now, though the movement has intensified in the last couple years.
- A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of three infants in 2015 by their fathers asking for a complete ban.
- With air pollution level going up 29 times above the World Health Organisation standards in November 2016, the Court suspended the sale of fireworks in the NCR, affecting 50 per cent of the total crackers sold in the country.
- The Court also asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and some others to conduct a study on the impact of bursting fireworks during Dussehra and Diwali on the health of the people.
In its report the CPCB said that due to fireworks on Diwali day, particulate matter 2.5 (tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two and one half microns or less in width, and hinder visibility and adversely affect health) levels go up. It stated when when there was less fireworks in 2017, the level had reduced compared to previous years.
What gives colour to the firecrackers?
Red: Strontium salts (Nitrates, carbonates and sulphates of strontium).
Orange: Calcium salts (Carbonates, chlorides and sulphates of calcium).
Yellow: Sodium salts ( Nitrates and oxalates of sodium).
Green: Barium salts (Nitrates, carbonates, chlorides and chlorates of barium).
Blue: Copper salts (Carbonates and oxides of copper).
Purple: A combination of copper and strontium compounds.
White: The burning of metals like magnesium, aluminium and titanium).