Mumbai: NGO Writes to PM After Analysis of ‘Green Crackers’ Finds Banned Metals

Mumbai: NGO Writes to PM After Analysis of ‘Green Crackers’ Finds Banned Metals

Awaaz Foundation, a non-government organization (NGO), has conducted an analysis of “green crackers” in Mumbai which has reportedly shown the presence of ingredients like barium nitrate, sulphur, and potassium nitrate. These components were banned by the Supreme Court in a 2018 order. 

Studies by experts as well as the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has previously shown that exposure to the aforementioned nitrates could pose developmental obstacles for children as well as unborn babies. 

Read - BMC Imposes Ban On Firecrackers, Mild Crackers Can Be Burst On Nov 14

Meanwhile, manufacturers of firecrackers at Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi have said that they were permitted to use barium nitrate in their products while adding that they’ve received manufacturing certificates for the same.

Following these revelations and the analysis by Awaaz Foundation, its convener, Sumaira Abdulali, called for a ban on firecrackers across the country citing irreparable harm to the environment. 

In a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office as well as other relevant branches of the State and Central Government, Abdulali said - “It is truly shocking that test results of these green crackers, which children are encouraged to use, are validated by the open display of the banned chemical content on their packaging. Such crackers, which cause serious illnesses including respiratory illnesses, will worsen the effects of Covid-19.”

Following the 2018 ban order by the Supreme Court, the Central Government was tasked with developing green crackers using a different chemical composition in order to reduce environmental harm. With this backdrop, the Central Government announced green crackers developed by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

Awaaz Foundation analysed 11 such green crackers at a private lab with seven samples carrying the NEERI symbol while the remaining four did not bear the agency’s symbol. The analysis found that all 11 green crackers had a composition of heavy metals like aluminium, barium, calcium, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, strontium, and sulphur. 

Also read - Firecracker Manufacturers, Sellers Suffer Massive Loss Due To The COVID19 Pandemic

It’s worth pointing out that the study could not independently verify the percentage of each ingredient in the firecracker. Meanwhile, President of the Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association, Ganesan Panjurajan mentioned that NEERI has issued certificates to 600 of the 1,075 factories in Sivakasi.

“There’s a 20 per cent reduction in barium in each green firecracker as per the new formula. We are using NEERI’s recommended additive for reduction of particulate matter emission by 25-30 per cent when crackers are burst. However, we cannot comment on those ‘green crackers’ that do not have the stamp,” Panjurajan added.

This comes as multiple states across India have banned the use of firecrackers for Diwali this year citing health risks to those with breathing difficulties. The worries are justified given that we’re also in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which disproportionately affects those with breathing issues and/or comorbidities.

Read - Supreme Court Orders A Partial Ban On Sale Of Firecrackers

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