Delhi govt resolute over busting bursting Chinese crackers
“Instructed Secretary of Environment Department to ensure complete ban on Chinese crackers in Delhi, as they are hazardous,” said Kapil Mishra, Delhi’s Water and Tourism Minister who is also holding interim charge of the Environment Department. “I am made to understand that Chinese crackers are great health and safety hazards. The use of Chinese crackers increases manifold in the festive seasons particularly during Diwali in National Capital Territory (NCT) Delhi. It is a major source of air and noise pollution also,” added Mishra. He further added that the department of Environment is advised to take immediate necessary steps for its ban in public interest. Mishra is handling the environment department as the minister Imran Hussain is on Haj Pilgrimage.
According to environmentalists, the rapid growth of the fireworks industry, which records a sale of around Rs 250 crore during Diwali, is posing a serious threat to the environment. According to the Environment Department, Delhiites produce an additional 4,000 metric tonne of garbage, which consists of burnt paper. A huge amount of hazardous chemicals such as potassium chlorate, sulphur and phosphorous are released that day. “The government will issue an advisory. RWAs and civil society organisations will be assisting the teams during the drives,” said Mishra.
In 2014, the Delhi government had written to the Customs Department to continue to enforce the ban on such firecrackers. Central government had issued a public notification in 2014, warning importers and public of the legal consequences if they used such crackers. Despite the ban, Chinese crackers are sold in the markets of Delhi particularly in the areas of Sadar Bazar and Chandni Chowk, the city’s oldest cracker market, opposite Jama Masjid, are openly displaying noisy crackers. Not many packets carry the mandatory mention of chemical composition and sound levels of the firecrackers.
This is a violation of the Explosive Rules 2008 that says: “Every manufacturer shall on the box of each fire crackers mention details of its chemical content, sound level and that it satisfies requirements laid down by the chief controller”. As per the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the maximum sound level notified is 125 dB (a) or 145 decibel (dB).
Smuggled through Nepal, these crackers are sold at close to three times the original price. Chinese crackers have a high content of potassium chlorate which is a hazardous chemical and can explode spontaneously. This chemical makes manufacturing of crackers cheaper. Indian crackers are made using potassium nitrate and aluminium powder, which escalates the cost by three times compared to potassium chlorate.
Chinese crackers are cheaper because the cost of potassium chlorate used as raw material is only Rs 50/kg compared to the aluminium powder in Indian crackers, which is much less harmful but costs Rs 300/kg.