Green crackers no less harmful, warn doctors

Green crackers no less harmful, warn doctors
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Green crackers no less harmful, warn doctors

Highlights

Doctors and environmental experts debunk the claim that bursting green crackers will not cause any pollution.

Doctors and environmental experts debunk the claim that bursting green crackers will not cause any pollution. The State government which had announced ban on firecrackers a couple of days ago, within hours changed its stand and appealed to people to celebrate Dipawali with so called green crackers.

The government's flip-flop will hardly help in reducing the pollution at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic threat is lurking. Green firecrackers are most unlikely to stop the surge in the cases of asthma, say experts.

Dr Manjunath, Consultant Pulmonologist at Regal Multi Speciality Hospital here said, "Definitely, even green crackers are harmful as we see rise in cases of asthma/ COPD exacerbations every year during Diwali despite the use of green crackers and in winter it will aggravate the problem among the people living in highly polluted area with AQI already in poor, very poor and severe category. Green crackers don't contain banned chemicals such as lithium, arsenic, barium and lead. They are called Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL) crackers."

Environment consultant Mahesh Kashyap wondered whether the government tested the green crackers.

"If so, where are the specifications? Crackers sold in green packets won't be green crackers. Regular crackers will also sneak into the market along with so-called green crackers. This will create more pollution. Crackers do emit smoke, be it green or chemical. This affects the respiratory system of the people who may already have symptoms. This will aggravate their illness making them more susceptible to Covid virus. The best decision would be to ban the crackers altogether and make it a festival of lights which is supposed to be the one," he observed.

"Green crackers release water vapour and don't allow the dust particles to rise. They are designed to have 30% less particulate matter pollution but are not pollution free and they too add to the existing pollutants that are there in most of the urban cities. Although reiterated many times I would also like to say that non pharmacological measures like masking and maintaining social distance is the only vaccine that we will have for long and will help us in containing the pandemic," Dr Manjunath added.

Stating that green crackers emit fewer pollutants, Dr. Sheetal Chaurasia, Consultant Pulmonary Medicine, Manipal Hospitals, Whitefield pointed out that they generate aerosol which may lead to a wider and quicker spread of coronavirus. Also increased level of pollution causes exacerbation of respiratory diseases. Post Covid respiratory complications are commonplace in patients who have recovered from the virus and a good percentage of survivors have lung fibrosis and need oxygen at home. The exposure of such patients to air pollution may cause life-threatening exacerbations. People should avoid bursting firecrackers to prevent further spread of Covid-19 and a second wave," Chaurasia added.

Green way to celebrate Deepawali

Bengaluru: Seed Paper India, a Bengaluru-based company, has found an innovative way to celebrate Deepavali without causing environmental pollution. In order to keep the feel of bursting crackers alive the plantable seed bombs shaped like chakris, anar, rocket, hydrogen bomb etc will not burst, instead, they grow into plants.

Bengaluru-based Roshan Ray, founder of Seed Paper India really got thinking "sustainable" when his handmade paper business got an order to print a large batch of wedding cards back in 2014. He realized what if cards could be recycled? He created wedding cards with plant seeds embedded in them. The invitation could be planted, and plants would grow out of them! He very soon hit upon the idea of embedding seeds in several other everyday products that otherwise easily end up in the waste.

Talking about the conceptualisation of idea behind the seed bombs, Ray says, "Seed Paper India which started in 2014 as an alternative in providing Eco Friendly Plantable Products started making seed crackers /green crackers in 2019 to fight pollution and stop eye and burn injuries in children and adults alike." "In 2019, the response was more of curiosity and awareness, rather than the actual buying. We sold more than 100 boxes in 2019 and in 2020 we are expanding orders to more than thousand hamper boxes which contain seed patakas / crackers," he told The Hans India.


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