Cracker sales are already underway in most parts of the state, with Deepavali only a few days away. Last year, the Supreme Court allowed the manufacture and sale of green crackers, which reduce both air and noise pollution levels in comparison to their conventional counterparts. As the festival is only a few days away, the question is whether or not these green crackers are widely available and if they have reached customers. Another question is whether the crackers being touted as ‘green’ really are eco-friendly. As per news reports, only six of Sivakasi’s fireworks units and 24 units in North India have got a green cracker license.
There is a claim that green crackers reduce air and noise pollution by 30%. KSPCB says it is awaiting government orders and a notification. However, even if the orders are issued, it will be difficult to implement them this year. Proper monitoring activities during Deepavali will decide whether pollution has as indeed reduced, either due to awareness of the use of green crackers, or both.
The awareness regarding air and noise pollution is steadily catching up as there is a gradual decline in firecracker sales in the city. Public is slowly becoming more conscious about their health and the environment they live in. We will know after the festival if there was any use of green crackers.
Children need to be taught the significance of the festival and pollution issues through awareness and education. The grownups must cooperate. Together we can bring down air and noise pollution and celebrate the festival as it should be.
The writer is a Consultant, EMPRI