Fake ‘Green Crackers’ Swamp The Markets This Diwali

Fake ‘Green Crackers’ Swamp The Markets This Diwali
Image Source: The Indian Express

These crackers should carry a certification of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and a QR (quick response) code.

However, there are several cracker boxes in the biggest cracker markets with the ‘Green Crackers’ tag but no certifications from NEERI or PESO.

Green crackers were supposed to make their way into markets in India this Diwali after the Supreme Court’s order over the introduction of low-emission firecrackers.

These crackers should carry a certification of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and also a QR (quick response) code.

However, there are several cracker boxes in the biggest cracker markets with the ‘Green Crackers’ tag but no certifications from NEERI or PESO.

CSIR-NEERI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with several manufacturers for the production of green crackers. However, the manufacturing company’s name printed on the box is not available in the registered manufacturers’ list of CSIR-NEERI.

WHAT ARE GREEN CRACKERS

Unlike regular firecrackers, green crackers have a small shell size.

Also, the formulation has less polluting raw materials. In many cases, green crackers use polluting chemicals like aluminium, barium, potassium nitrate, and carbon, but in a lower quantity, which in turn lowers the emission by about 30 per cent.

In some green crackers, these chemicals may not be used at all.

Along with the CSIR-NEERI’s stamp of approval, there was also a mandate for the crackers to be affixed with a QR code that customers can scan and obtain information about the crackers’ emissions and composition.

CSIR-NEERI has also developed a mobile application named ‘Green QR Code’ where one can scan the QR codes on the firecrackers to verify their authenticity as green crackers.

As quoted by an expert in The Hitavada, “Most green crackers do not publish QR codes at all, and emissions are untraceable. If the crackers are genuinely green, their certification will pop up.

If they don’t have a QR code at all, they are not the real deal.” On being asked by The Hitavada about the ‘fake’ green crackers in the market, Dr Sadhana Rayalu, Senior Most Scientist, CSIR-NEERI, rolled the ball into the PESO’s court and said, “PESO is the regulatory agency for fireworks”.

Even though the proper implementation of the ban on firecrackers and checking the availability of authentic ‘green crackers’ in the market is PESO’s jurisdiction, this Diwali, the purpose of banning firecrackers is not going to be served due to loopholes in the implementation of the Supreme Court’s order.

Green activist and founder of Green Vigil Foundation Kaustav Chatterjee said, “The name ‘green crackers’ itself is confusing. Green crackers emit only 30% less pollution as compared to normal crackers.

WHAT THE SUPREME COURT HAD TO SAY

Green crackers can be used during the festive season, which starts this week in West Bengal, the Supreme Court said on Monday, removing a complete ban on crackers by the Calcutta High Court to reduce air pollution.

The judges relied upon an order by the Supreme Court in another case involving firecrackers from Friday and said that there could not be a complete ban on firecrackers.

Also, there is also a need to strengthen the mechanism to stop the misuse of these firecrackers.”

Supreme Court Judges AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi asked the government of West Bengal to try and explore the possibility of ensuring that banned firecrackers and related items are not imported in the state and stopped at entry points.

The Calcutta High Court order had come after a Public Interest Litigation filed by an environmental activist by the name of Roshni Ali, who asked for a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during the festivities to safeguard people’s right to clean, healthy and breathable air.

According to the Calcutta High Court, the state needs to make sure that there is no use or display or bursting of firecrackers of any type at all during Kali Puja, Diwali celebrations as well as Chhath Puja, Jagadhatri Puja, Guru Nanak’s birthday and Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations this year.

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