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Green crackers the new Trend but are they really green?

Is Diwali about bursting crackers, Tanishq called out on social media, dampening sale of crackers, rising AQI in cities amidst the pandemic.

By Sakshi Jain

Tanishq under attack again, a month after their previous advertisement, which promoted Hindu-Muslim marriage. The advertisement features four women where one of them says that she won't be bursting crackers on Diwali, and neither should anyone else. This led to a massive outrage on social media by several right-wing groups. As a repercussion, Tanishq took down its advertisement again. Various right-wing people took to social media that Tanishq should not advise Hindus on how to celebrate Diwali. Later, #Thisdiwali_boycott Tanishq was trending on Twitter. A BJP National took to Twitter, "Why should anyone advise Hindus how to celebrate our Festivals? Companies must focus on selling their products, not lecture us to refrain from bursting Crackers." Right-wing people's ideology is that bursting crackers is a part of Diwali's traditions, and no one should tell them otherwise.

But is Diwali really about bursting crackers?

As per the Hindu text Itihasa, which comprises Ramayana, Diwali is celebrated because lord ram returned to Ayodhya after completing 14 years of exile and defeated Ravana. There is no mention of bursting crackers in the religious text; however, people today associate Diwali with bursting crackers. Diwali is the festival of lights and not sound. There is evidence that people lighted up candles, lamps, and diyas when lord ram returned but no proof of them burning crackers to celebrate his arrival.

With the second wave of Covid-19 coming during the most significant festival, 13 states imposed a ban on firecrackers. The national green tribunal announced a complete ban on crackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from midnight of November 9 to midnight of November 30. While in some states, bursting green crackers were allowed with a moderate or a low AQI and two hours from 8:00 p.m. To 10:00 p.m. But green crackers certainly don't promote a green Diwali. Green crackers are made of less harmful substances; their particle emission is 30% less than the conventional crackers. Green crackers also have relatively less decibel sound ranging between 110-125 decibel system. Whereas in typical crackers, the rate varies to 160 decibels of sound. Three types of green crackers available in India SAFAL (safe minimal aluminum), STAR( safe thermite cracker), and SWAS (safe water releaser).

The polluting chemicals and toxic compounds used in crackers are barium, potassium nitrate, aluminum, and carbon, in reduced quantities to shrink emissions. However, green crackers' shell size is smaller than conventional crackers, which is why they are more expensive. Green crackers constitute green Diwali, but it does not make an enormous difference for the environment because toxic compounds find their way into the atmosphere. They come in contact with the pre-existing smog

and stay in the air for a long time, which worsens the air quality. Due to the pandemic, the economy for crackers had gone down due to the rise in prices and hence dampening sale of crackers.

Green crackers might emit less pollution, but they are still categorized as crackers. They have the potential of causing harm to our health and our respiratory system. The air inhaled after burning crackers is very harmful and can be the beginning of an underlying disease.

Edited by Karmistha Bhimwal and Kshitij Kumbhat