Since the past few days approaching Diwali, the issues of air pollution and its subsequent effects on the health of people arising from the lighting of firecrackers made the news. Many states and union territories had imposed bans in some form or other and issued guidelines over the sale of crackers. But some of them have turned to permit the sale of a less polluting version of the firecrackers – the green crackers.
The CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute has given the following definition for green crackers: Firecrackers made with a reduction in the size of shell, elimination of ash usage, reduced usage of raw materials in the compositions, of uniform acceptable quality, and/or use of additives as dust suppressants to reduce emissions with specific reference to particulate matter(PM), with all of the reductions based on when compared with conventional composition for any given category of crackers/fireworks.
Lucknow was one such city to give its permit for selling green crackers. Though the number of shops has halved following the Covid-19 effects, the market began business this week on Monday, with 185 shops being given a temporary three-day permit to sell at one window. Joint commissioner of police, law, and order, Piyush Mordia is quoted by TOI saying, “We have clearly stated that only green crackers must be sold, there must be fire safety provisions on the premises and crackers must not have more than 110 decibel sound limit.”
In the east zone, the shops can be found at Vineet Khand, near Kathauta Jheel in Chinhat, Harishchandra Inter College while those of the west zone are at DAV College ground and Khunkhunji ground. There are a couple more to be found at Ramdheen Singh Lawns in Babuganj, Aliganj sector O Park, Amrapalli Yojna in Kakori, and Ramleela Maidan in Hussainganj.
On October 29, the Uttar Pradesh government had passed an order allowing the use and sale of green crackers for not more than two hours in areas where the AQI is “moderate” or better. Following this directive, The higher than ‘moderate’ decided air quality index of Ghaziabad for the month of October has led the district administration to not issue any license for the sale of green crackers this Diwali. Environmentalists said that the authorities were unable to control the rise in pollution levels despite the plans made to monitor situations. The reason is said to be the high volume of traffic and the extensive road repair works that are currently ongoing throughout the city.
A yet different story come from Kolkata, where the Calcutta High Court had earlier imposed a blanket ban on the use of firecrackers this festive season. The judgement was challenged in the Supreme Court, which directed against a total ban. However, as of yet on Wednesday, in another directive the High Court directed the state to ensure that only green crackers are used. The West Bengal Pollution Control Board has specified already timings for the use of firecrackers on festival days. States like Orissa and Jammu and Kashmir have also issued similar directives.