It’s time to switch over to green firecrackers

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Nov 2018 09:39:32


Staff Reporter,

A team of scientists demonstrate green firecrackers in NEERI

From this ‘Diwali’ people will not get firecrackers bearing pictures of deities, film actors, actresses etc. The popular firecrackers like ‘Laxmi Bomb’, ‘Vishnu Bomb’, ‘Sutali Bomb’, ‘Fulzadi’, ‘Taj Mahal’, ‘Popat’ brands, ‘Anar’ etc. will become history soon.  Efforts are on to introduce non-polluting, less sound creating and scientifically  structured firecrackers like SWAS (Safe Water Releaser), SAFAL (Safe Minimal Aluminium) and STAR (Safe Thermite Crackers). Thanks to the laboratories and scientists working under the umbrella of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) across the country conducting research.

In a good news to the citizens, scientists have developed ‘Green Firecrackers’ which can be used from this Diwali.
The scientists of Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI), Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute. (CMERI), Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) situated across the country have formulated a project with a specific goal to enhance CSIR innovation ability for developing globally competitive, cutting edge technologies for reduced emission fireworks.

Dr Sadhana Rayalu, Senior Principal Scientist and Head of EMD Division, NEERI organised demonstration of newly-developed ‘Green Firecrackers’ in the premises of NEERI on Wednesday. “Green Firecrackers do not contain harmful chemicals that would cause air pollution. Components in firecrackers are replaced with others that are less dangerous and less harmful to the atmosphere,” said Dr Rayalu.

“During Diwali and other festivities fire crackers are considered as a major source of air pollutants which could be harmful to human health. Fireworks and fire displays are probably the application of chemicals which resonates best with the general public. However, fireworks emissions are of growing environmental concerns and therefor there is a need to undertake research and development to address the issue. As suggested by Union Minister of Science and Technology and Vice President of CSIR, Dr Harshwardhan, the laboratories under CSIR completed the project of developing Green Firecrackers,” she added.

Under the guidance of CSIR Director General, Dr Shekhar Mande, NEERI Director Dr Rakesh Kumar and Dr Santanu Choudhary, a team of scientists working in NEERI has developed these green crackers.

“Scientists came up with 3-4 formulations and looked at 30-40% of active materials which reduce particulate matter. CSIR-CECRI has developed flower pots by using “eco-friendly materials” that can potentially reduce particulate matter by 40%. CSIR-NEERI is testing the efficacy of bijli firecrackers by eliminating the use of ash as desiccants. Scientists have also developed potential sound-emitting functional prototypes that do not emit sulphur dioxide, and are testing a prototype of flower pots substituting barium nitrate with an eco-friendly version,” Dr Rayalu stated.

For the first time an emissions testing facility has also been established at NEERI for extensive testing of conventional and green crackers and monitor them for emissions and sound. This facility uses all sophisticated instruments for measurement and sampling when firecrackers are used, she added.

Dr Rayalu mentioned, “NEERI has also plans to develop raw material characterisation facility. It has been found that many times the poor quality raw materials used in fire crackers are the major sources of particulate matter pollution. Therefore, there is a need to establish a facility. NEERI has already detailed the need for the same and this facility is proposed to be established at Fireworks Research & Development Centre (FRDC) Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO). Initially, it was proposed to be set up at Kaliswari Fire Works using their existing facilities, however, it can be independent. CSIR would be detailing further strengthening by installation of additional facilities of raw materials testing at Sivakasi. This activity is likely to be initiated for testing in next two months after completion of certain formalities. This facility can come up in collaboration and partnership with manufacturing association.”

Scientists have given these crackers names as Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL). “It has the unique property of releasing water vapour and/or air as dust suppressant and diluent for gaseous emissions and matching performance in sound with conventional crackers,” she added. The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation is testing and analysing these crackers for safety and stability. Some manufacturers have been shown such results. They have been “successfully demonstrated” in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, a hub for fireworks industries. “The idea this year was to use material that is inexpensive. We will run experiments with other unique materials in the next round,” she said.