Scientists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have developed "environment friendly" firecrackers which produce 30-35 per cent less particulate matter, Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said Monday. These crackers, however, are unlikely to be produced this Diwali, he said in response to a question.
They have been named as safe water releaser (SWAS), safe minimal aluminium (SAFAL) and safe thermite cracker (STAR), Vardhan said in a press conference. They have a unique property of releasing water vapour or air as dust suppressant and diluent for gaseous emissions, and they match in sound with conventional firecrackers, the minister said.
SWAS crackers eliminate use of potassium nitrate (KNO3) and sulphur with a consequent reduction in particulate matter by 30-35 per cent. They match the intensity of sound of commercial crackers in the range of 105-110 decibels.
STAR eliminates usage of potassium nitrate and sulphur with a consequent reduction in particulate matter by 35-40 per cent. It matches the sound intensity of commercial crackers in the range of 105-110 decibels. SAFAL has minimal usage of aluminium (only in flash powder for initiation) with a consequent significant reduction in particulate matter of 35-40 per cent compared to the commercial crackers.
The minister highlighted that the Indian fireworks industry has an annual turnover of over Rs 6000 crore and provides employment opportunities to over 5 lakh families directly or indirectly. He said this endeavour of the CSIR is aimed at addressing pollution concerns and at the same time protecting the livelihoods of those involved in this trade.
Vardhan said firecracker manufactures took a keen interest in the entire process with the laboratories and the new crackers would not be require changes in their manufacturing facilities.
"For the the first time in India, an emission testing facility has been established at CSIR-NEERI and extensive testing is in progress for conventional and green crackers for monitoring the emissions and sound," he said.
This facility uses sophisticated instruments for measurement and sampling when firecrackers are used, he added. Vardhan said it was the responsibility of the firework manufactures to get a license to produce these firecrackers. Every Diwali, there is a rise in the pollution level and firecrackers are a major contributor.