The Diwali week continued bringing good tidings for investors and Dalal Street even after ‘Muhurat’ trading on Sunday the 12th of November.
This Diwali, the night sky won’t merely glisten with the traditional burst of colours and lights; it will radiate an environmentally conscious brilliance as green crackers prepare to steal the spotlight in the city of joy. Amidst the fragrant marigold blossoms and the joyous sounds of children, the atmosphere will adopt a ‘green’ hue.
Over 100 fireworks vendors have been granted licences to sell green crackers at four bustling bazaars in Kolkata, operating from 6-12 November.
The police have laid out stringent guidelines for the setup and sale of these eco-friendly fireworks. It has been mandated that each of the 116 stalls in the four bazaars maintains a minimum 9-foot gap between them, and the stall ceilings must be constructed from fire-resistant tarpaulin material. In accordance with the guidelines established by the Calcutta High Court this year, only green crackers emitting sound levels up to 125 decibels, measured from a distance of 4 metres from the point of ignition, will be permissible on Diwali night, which falls on 12 November, between 8 pm and 10 pm.
Government officials have stated that the inspection will be a collaborative effort involving the police, the fire department, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), and other relevant agencies. The city is gearing up for a Diwali celebration that combines tradition with environmental responsibility, ensuring that the skies remain both vibrant and clear.
Many local artisans and firework manufacturers have adapted to these sustainable alternatives, investing time and effort into crafting green crackers that captivate and dazzle, all while protecting the environment. The transition has not only been an eco-conscious choice but a boon for these artisans, as they find themselves at the forefront of a new-age, sustainable Diwali.
But how do these green crackers work, and what makes them ‘green’ in the first place? The secret lies in the chemical composition. According to CSIR-NEERI, green crackers should have a reduced shell size, avoiding the use of charcoal and barium, which typically produced bright green colours in conventional fireworks, and also copious amounts of noxious smoke. Green crackers use suppressors like zeolite to reduce particulate emissions.
The crackling sounds will be gentler on the ears, thanks to reduced decibel levels, and the colours will paint the sky without a toxic haze.Green crackers feature three categories – SWAS (Safe Water Releaser) releases water vapour during an explosion to prevent particulates from going up higher; STAR (Safe Thermite) cracker uses low quantities of thermite, a mixture of metals and metal oxides, thereby reducing heat and particle release; SAFAL (Safe Minimal Aluminium) cracker substitutes magnesium for aluminium, further reducing noise levels.
“Burning crackers produces a lot of particulate matter which are small particles suspended in the air. These lead to eye, nose and throat irritation and breathing difficulties and may exacerbate symptoms of asthma and COPD in the vulnerable populace. These also reduce the visibility leading to more accidents. Green crackers developed by CSIR- NEERI are an eco-friendly option which have a smaller shell and produce minimal amount of particulates thus reducing pollution,” Dr Shreya Chatterjee told The Statesman.
In the streets of Kolkata, fireworks retailers have proudly displayed their assortment of green crackers, which bear labels and QR codes showcasing their eco-friendly credentials. Families, especially children, have gathered to select these pyrotechnic gems, exclaiming over the dazzling hues and fascinating effects they promised. One shop owner, Nimai Sanyal, shared his enthusiasm for the change.
“We’re witnessing a shift in mindset. People are more aware of environmental issues these days, and they want to celebrate without harming the Earth. Green crackers offer them a guilt-free way to do that,” he said.
Subhankar Manna, the general secretary of the West Bengal Fireworks Association, details the distribution of stalls – “There will be 44 stalls in the Tala baazi bazaar, 18 in Behala, 24 in Kalikapur, and 30 at the Shahid Minar baazi bazaar.”
“The transition to green crackers was a nobrainer for us. It’s a small step that collectively makes a big impact. Plus, they look just as mesmerising in the sky!” said an enthusiastic buyer.
The adoption of green crackers this Diwali represents not only a spectacular transformation in the festive traditions but also a significant stride towards a more environmentally responsible celebration. It serves as a shining example of how small, conscious choices can make a profound difference. The night sky, awash with the glow of green crackers, reflects not just the commitment to tradition but also the pledge to safeguard the environment.
“In previous years, Diwali meant staying indoors and struggling to breathe. Thanks to green crackers, I hope I can finally enjoy the festivities without fearing an asthma attack. It is a breath of fresh air, quite literally!” said Shibnath Mitra, an asthma patient.