Diwali Pollution: 'Green crackers' to the rescue?
Let's be honest here- we Indians are a bit strange. Call it our obsession with extravagantly observed festivals or celebrations, or the sounds and lights, or put in a more brutal-but-truthful manner, maybe it's our obsession with furthering our own problems. But we can't let go crackers, can we? However, what are green crackers? Can they help? Here, we decode.
Putting things into perspective: India is a 'world-champion' in pollution
According to a recently released, World Health Organization (WHO) global air-pollution report, India is home to 14 out of 15 most-polluted cities (in terms of PM-2.5 matter concentration) across the globe. The worst of all is Kanpur, with a PM 2.5 concentration of 173 micrograms/cubic-metre, followed closely by Faridabad and Varanasi. In the most-polluted megacities race, Delhi stands number 1, Mumbai at rank 4.
Regarding crackers, what did the Supreme Court say?
The Supreme Court, on October 23 denied putting a nationwide blanket ban on firecrackers. However, it has put certain checks and restrictions. Only 'green firecrackers' can be manufactured and sold in the Delhi-NCR region. The online sale of crackers has been put to rest. Furthermore, a two-hour window has been fixed for bursting crackers. The time-slot is 8-10 PM, with exceptions for Tamil Nadu.
The alternative: What are 'green crackers'?
Green crackers are basically firecrackers with reduced emissions and lowered decibel levels. According to the Environment Ministry, these crackers, developed by scientists of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) would be 30% less pollution-causing than conventional crackers.
Can green crackers really help? How?
Green crackers are called so, as they, instead of containing harmful, pollution-causing chemicals, contain chemical-formulations that produce water-molecules, that significantly reduce emission levels and absorb dust. They can reduce firecrackers-induced release of harmful gases and particulate matter like nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide, by 30-35%. Further, the use of pollution-causing chemicals like aluminium, barium, potassium-nitrate and carbon has either been eliminated or considerably reduced.
What, we- the people, can do
If bursting green-crackers between the SC-slated time window sounds like a good-idea to you, you'll be legally alright. But, if you realize that it won't be enough, in the long run- quit cracker-bursting once and for all- our lives are more important than mere 'festive-fun.'