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Eco-Friendly Fireworks

Eco-Friendly Fireworks: Sounds Like an Oxymoron? Not Anymore!

Scientists at the Central Electro Chemical Research Institute, one of the laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), are in the process of inventing green fireworks that will help bring down noise and air pollution levels.

Project leader Dr. John Berchmans said that they were working on finding eco-friendly, less-polluting fireworks through modified chemical formulations, and that many labs have participated in the exercise.

The scientists are trying to replace aluminium with magnesium as the combustible material in fireworks to help bring down pollution levels, especially particulate matter. They have worked on these products for the past eight months, and are focussing predominantly on flower pots, Jil Jil fireworks, and atom bomb crackers, as these are the most used types of fireworks. Flower pots constitute about 60% of the fireworks burst during the festive season.

Having tested the fireworks in the field near Sivakasi, Dr. Berchmans said that the results they got were encouraging, as they were able to reduce the toxic chemical emissions in these fireworks by 30 to 40%. They then sent the same to the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) for further evaluation and testing. Dr. Berchmans is currently working on the project with two other scientists, Dr. Subrata Kundu and Dr. V Ganesh.

Three types of pollution from fireworks—toxic emissions, particulate matter and noise levels—were the focus of these ‘green fireworks’. While the permitted level for sound in fireworks was 120 decibels, the fireworks which they are researching had a decibel level ranging from 109 to 111, which is well within the permissible limits. The products needed to be further improved and are expected to hit the market for Diwali next year if they receive the required funding from the government.

Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association, K Mariappan, said that it was good that the scientists were coming forward to help them with this crucial aspect, but they would have to wait and see how the products evolved. Also, sources added that the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) must approve the fireworks after final testing is completed, if they have to come to the market.

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