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SC says cracker order applies to country, not just NCR: What types of fireworks are allowed, and where

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SC says cracker order applies to country, not just NCR: What types of fireworks are allowed, and where

Context- The Supreme Court on Tuesday (November 7) clarified that its order banning the use of barium and other banned chemicals in firecrackers applies to the entire country, and not just the National Capital Region.

(Credits- Indian Express)

A bench of Justices A S Bopanna and M M Sundresh was hearing an application that sought directions to the Rajasthan government to comply with the top court’s orders.

What are the SC orders on firecrackers?

  • In October 2018, the apex court had banned the production and sale of all crackers except ‘green crackers’ and those with reduced emissions (improved crackers).
  • It also banned the manufacture and sale of ‘joined crackers’ (long rows of crackers joined together), prohibited the use of barium salts in fireworks and said their noise levels should be within permissible limits.
  • The court reiterated this in its October 29, 2021 order.
  • In September this year, the SC junked a plea by the firecracker manufacturers’ association to allow the use of joined crackers and to add barium with improved additives in green crackers.
  • In 2020, the National Green Tribunal had banned the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers in NCR, and said that green crackers would be permitted only in cities and towns where air quality was moderate or poor.

What is a firecracker made of?

  • Firecrackers typically consist of four primary ingredients – oxidiser, fuel, colouring agents, and binder. An oxidiser is required for the cracker to catch fire, the fuel sustains the fire, colouring agents give it the colours and sparkles, while the binder holds this mixture in place till the cracker has spent itself.
  • Chemicals like barium are colouring agents, and were banned because of their harmful impact on human health, such as irritation in the respiratory tract, skin allergies, breathing difficulties, and even cancer.

(Credits- Indian Express)

  • The white colour in a cracker is emitted through aluminium, magnesium and titanium, while the orange colour is carbon or iron. Similarly, yellow agents are sodium compounds while blue and red are copper compounds and strontium carbonates. The green agent is barium mono chloride salts or barium nitrate or barium chlorate.

What are green crackers?

  • Green crackers are so named because they “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.
  • The idea of producing green crackers was researched by a network of CSIR labs, including Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, National Botanical Research Institute and National Chemical Laboratory.
  • These crackers emit less-harmful chemicals, and also release water vapour, which acts as dust suppressant.
  • The three broad categories of such crackers are SWAS, SAFAL and STAR, developed by CSIR.
  • SWAS stands for “safe water releaser”, and has a small water pocket that is released in the form of vapour when the cracker is burst. This suppresses dust.
  • STAR, or safe thermite cracker, does not comprise potassium nitrate and sulphur, and emits reduced particulate matter at reduced sound intensity.
  • SAFAL is safe minimal aluminium, which has minimum usage of aluminium, and used magnesium instead. This too emits less noise than traditional crackers.

Syllabus- Prelims; Current Affairs

Source- Indian Express

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