Delhi may be hosting a Green Diwali this year. From Diwali 2019 onwards, Delhi Government has focused on selling green crackers, also known as eco-friendly crackers. These crackers are being stamped with a unique logo and QR codes on the boxes.

As being told by CSIR-NEERI officials [Council of Scientific & Industrial Research -National Environmental Engineering Research Institute], around 550 certificates of emission testing has been issued to different manufacturers. These manufacturers will make low emission crackers and the boxes of these crackers will carry a unique logo which will differentiate them from normal polluting firecrackers. Further, the boxes of these firecrackers will be stamped with unique QR codes.

The manufacturers won’t be compromising with the quality of crackers and the fun associated with them. The green crackers will also have similar colourful lights & sound. However, the ingredients of the cracker powder have been changed to make them eco-friendly.

As told by an official in a conversation with Times of India, “The green cracker boxes will also have QR codes which will have production and emission testing details. More than 70% of the major manufacturers have got emission testing certificates.”

The Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (Peso) is the governing authority for the control & monitoring of the composition of chemical & related elements in firecrackers. As told by the PESO chief M K Jhala on Monday in a conversation with Times of India, around 60 compositions of “Green crackers” have been approved for the manufacturers for production of fire crackers. Further, he told that 24 such ingredients have been rejected by the authority.

Last year, many people celebrated Diwali with the usual high emission crackers. The reason was the low scale production and lesser promotion of the same. This year, the government has issued certifications for manufacturers and has scaled up production of eco-friendly crackers for Diwali 2019. These will be easily available all over NCR, unlike last year.

“These approved compositions do not have any barium nitrate. The manufacturers came up with the compositions and we gave approval to the ones which fall within the ‘green’ parameters after careful review. Production has already started in Sivakasi,” Jhala said.

Mainly based on magnesium and sulphur as flammable agents, the green crackers have a reduced content of aluminium compounds. Further, the used of Barium salts and ash has been banned in manufacturing. These were used earlier as drying agents.

As explained by CSIR, the firecrackers will be classified as Green & Eco-friendly only if they cause 30-35% lower emission of PM10 & PM2.5 (Particulate Matter) particles. Further, the green crackers will only be emitting lower Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions at around 35-40% levels.

The PESO chief gave an explanation that PESO is only responsible for grant of approval of the product’s composition like the exclusion of barium nitrate. However, they are not designated to certify the level of emissions of a cracker and said that the certification of whether a cracker is green or not is to be done through NEERI only.

As per a study conducted by IIT Kanpur regarding the sources of pollution in Delhi, emissions from the following sources have been listed as top 5 contributors to Air Pollution in Delhi.

* Coal-run Power Plants

* Public & Private Vehicles &Transports

* Burning of Crop Residue

* Ready-mix Concrete Batching Plants

* Dust at Construction Sites

Apart from these sources like burning & bursting of firecrackers contribute a lot to the major sources in just a week’s time. The Diwali season comes right before winter and the high level of pollutions caused due to burning of high emission fire-crackers results. Thus, resulting in changing temperatures, increased smog levels during pre-winters and winters. This pollution causes increased level of toxic fumes and pollutants in the air, making it tough to breathe. People could be seen walking around on streets wearing asthma masks. Not only this, crop burning caused 26% of pollution in the city during winters and 12% during summer.

Last year post-Diwali, the air quality of Delhi NCR got severe and was categorized as ‘Poor’ & even ‘Very Poor’ for a while. Diwali 2018 celebrated on November 7 where people could not understand the severity of the situation. A normal AQI states that Air Quality can be classified in the following categories

Air Quality Index (AQI) Values Levels of Health Concern Colours Symbolisation
0 to 50 Good Green
51 to 100 Moderate Yellow
101 to 150 Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Orange
151 to 200 Unhealthy Red
201 to 300 Very Unhealthy Purple
301 to 500 Hazardous Maroon

During Diwali 2018, Delhi’s AQI reached 390 on the index on November 8 (One day after Diwali) & touched the highest ever figure of 423 on November 9th. The spike rise in the pollution level of air was credited to the burning of toxic firecrackers by authorities.

As being told by authorities, if the situation is not taken seriously and even partial combustion of harmful firecrackers take place this year as compared to the previous year, then the AQI will cross never before seen levels of dangers.  Hence, everyone is kindly requested to either avoid burning of firecrackers. And even if you do, use Green Crackers or eco-friendly firecrackers for Diwali 2019.