Air pollution is increasing day by day and to curb it Supreme Court has suggested to use green crackers on Diwali. No doubt Air pollution is one of the most serious environmental problems confronting our civilisation today. Mainly, it is caused by human activities like mining, construction, transportation, industry, etc. Also, some natural phenomena are also responsible like volcanic eruptions, wildfires etc. But their occurrence is rare and mostly it causes a local effect. Firecrackers on Diwali are some or the other way responsible for air pollution. So, to minimise air pollution idea of green crackers are suggested.
Now, let us study through this article about green crackers which helps in combating air pollution, what are fireworks and how they work.
What are fireworks?
Fireworks is a device which contains gunpowder and other combustible chemicals which causes striking effects and when ignited they explodes. Basically, used in celebrations, festivals etc.
Now, let us study about Green Crackers?
Green crackers are those crackers which do not contain harmful chemicals that would cause air pollution. They are environmentally friendly. So, we can say that green crackers are less harmful as compared to conventional firecrackers and less pollution emission will result in reduced air pollution. That is why it is decided to develop eco-friendly firecrackers and fireworks.
In green crackers the commonly used polluting chemicals like aluminium, barium, potassium nitrate and carbon have either been removed or sharply reduced to slow down the emissions by 15 to 30%.
Do you know that the idea of generating green firecrackers is of CSIR labs and is proposed by the Union Science and Technology Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan?
In the first phase of producing green crackers focus will be on reducing pollutants and then further strategies will cover to remove pollutants from the compositions.
The team have came up with 3-4 formulations and looked at 30-40% of active materials which reduce particulate matter. Also, CSIR-CECRI has developed eco-friendly flower pots that can reduce particulate matter by 40%.
Even, CSIR-NEERI is testing the efficacy of crackers known as Bijli crackers. They have eliminated the use of ash as desiccants. They have developed potential sound-emitting functional prototypes that do not emit sulphur dioxide. All these are in testing stage.
The crackers have been named as Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL). The particulate matter will be reduced by 30-35 per cent in SWAS and 35 to 40 per cent in SAFAL and STAR
According to the researchers, these crackers have the unique property of releasing water vapour, air as a dust suppressant and diluents for gaseous emissions that match with the performance in sound with traditional conventional crackers. All, these crackers are now in a testing stage at the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation.
Green crackers may not be implemented this Diwali but yes in future government is planning to implement them.
So, now we understood that green crackers are those which reduce emission and decibel levels.
Let us study the chemistry of fireworks
Basically, fireworks chemistry is based on theory of combustion. It consists of 6 vital ingredients.
1. Fuel: Charcoal basically known as black powder is the most common fuel used in fireworks. Therefore, all fuels will contain an organic element like charcoal or thermite.
How fuel functions in the fireworks?
Fuel loses electrons to atoms within the oxidiser thereby reduces the oxidiser and releases atoms from the oxidiser. During this process, bonds are formed between the oxygen and the fuel and form a stable product. Also, minimal amount of energy is required to start the combustion of this fuel. After, the combustion massive energy is released, the solid mixture liquidifies and vaporises into the flame of ignition.
2. Oxidising Agents
The oxidising agent produces the oxygen needed for the mixture inside the firework to burn. Examples: nitrates, chlorates or perchlorates.
3. Reducing Agents
Reducing agent burn the oxygen provided by the oxidising agents to produce hot gases. Examples: Sulphur and Charcoal. By mixing both the reducing agents speed of the reaction can be controlled.
Function of regulator is to regulate the speed of the reaction. Example: metals.
5. Colouring Agents
For producing different colours various chemicals are used like strontium produces red colour, Copper-blue, Barium-green, Sodium-yellow or orange, Calcium- Orange, Gold-iron, Strontium and Copper are mixed together to give purple colour.
They are used to hold the mixture of the firework in the form of a paste like mixture. Example: dextrin. It is a type of starch which holds the composition together.
How firecrackers are harmful?
Firecrackers can cause severe effects in the health of the people like heart diseases, respiratory or nervous system disorders. Even the people suffering from common cold and coughs can cause congestion of throat and chest. Noise pollution causes restlessness, temporary or permanent hearing loss, high blood pressure; sleep disturbance and even poor cognitive development in kids. Firecrackers contains chemicals and substances like cadmium, lead, chromium, aluminium, magnesium, nitrates, carbon monoxide, copper, potassium, sodium, zinc oxide, manganese dioxide etc. which if accumulated can eventually damage health if inhaled or ingested.
So, now you may have come to know about fireworks, green crackers and how they work.