India's green firecrackers still in it's labour

Indias green firecrackers still in its labourFiring of eco-friendly firecracker

New Delhi (ISJ) - Indian scientists started working on a "green firecracker", which is non-polluting and safe after the Supreme Court of India suspended sale of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR in November 2017 with steadily deteriorating air quality.

A couple of months later, Science & Technology; Environment, Forest & Climate Change Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan convened a meeting of heads of some laboratories under CSIR and asked them to work on pollution-free firecrackers as a long-term alternative to conventional, chemical-based ones.

Though the outcome of research by CSIR labs is still unknown, a Chemical Scientist at Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISERM), Mohali has come up with an all-weather, smoke-free firecracker. Dr Samrat Ghosh, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Sciences, IISERM claimed, 'the firecracker developed has the potential to replace some types of polluting firecrackers.'

"Ours is an eco/environment-friendly, all-weather, debris-less, safe, fuse-free, instant trigger-responsive firecracker for indoor-outdoor use which does not generate any soot, obnoxious fumes or smoke. It can be operated either hand held or using a ground-based launcher," Dr Ghosh told Indian Science Journal.

Dr Ghosh said since the fire emanating from the firecracker developed by him is of very short duration, danger of any collateral damage is very limited compared to conventional firecrackers. He said, the firecracker has special proprietary shields to prevent any debris from flying around and hitting someone. "This feature makes it very unique vis-à-vis commercially available firecrackers which generate lot of debris," he added.

The manufacturing process of these firecrackers is also comparatively eco-environment-friendly, which makes the whole concept very unique, said Dr. Ghosh. He said the whole process complies with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's slogan "Zero Defect, Zero Effect," and "Swachh Bharat". Conventional firecrackers using sugar-nitrate/chlorate require dry weather conditions for manufacture, which limits setting up of units across the country. But under the new process, firecrackers can be made in all weather conditions and its manufacturing units can be set up anywhere in the country.

These firecrackers have several added advantages – it can be used to scare away birds and bats causing damages to aircrafts during landing and take-off and in agricultural fields to scare away birds and animals. Currently, airport ground staff use expensive pyrotechnics to scare away birds. Many farmers in countries abroad deploy expensive sonic canons to generate a sound to scare away birds and animals.

Dr Ghosh said, these firecrackers were tested inhouse at IISERM and the prototype of aerial firecrackers would be demonstrated for its safety and non-polluting features during the forthcoming Diwali season in the presence of representatives of Controller of Explosives, Firearm licensing authorities, etc.

Though Dr Ghosh has demonstrated the technology, it has a long way to reach the market. But he said optimistically, "My firecracker is a step in the direction of developing smoke-free firecrackers."

So far no manufacturer has come up to take the technology for commercial exploitation, which also requires several mandatory clearances like license under the Explosive Act.

"It is the job of the manufacturer, who take up our innovation to seek licenses and other clearances required for such a product," said Dr Ghosh.


Image courtesy: Dr Samrat Ghosh


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