Scarce information in public domain on availability of ‘green crackers’ in Hyderabad
A row of shops selling firecrackers have popped up on either side of the road near Purana Pul. Some shops are in the process of being set up. “This looks like a kick in the belly. Last year we had 30 shops now there are 40 shops. We have done zero business,” says Subhakar who invested a few hundred thousand rupees for the two-day business that begins with Dhanteras and ends hours before Deepavali in a rush of shoppers. “Do you have green crackers?”
“We have regular crackers,” he says showing the crackers some of which don’t even have the manufacturing or expiry date.
When a citizen wanted to find the location where she could pick up some green crackers. She was bombarded with information about shops selling regular crackers instead of ‘green crackers’. Begum Bazaar, which is known as the business destination for crackers, too turned up nothing. It is at Ameerpet that people are queuing up to buy green crackers. “Some people are asking for it. The crackers which have ‘green crackers’ written on them are in demand. But most people are not looking at the tags,” says the owner of the shop.
“We have a budget of ₹ 2000 for buying firecrackers. We are not looking for ‘green crackers’ label. Whatever fits the budget we will buy,” says a couple wheeling in a trolley to pick up the crackers that range from ₹ 270 for a 11-item gift box to ₹ 2900 for a 50-item box.
But how safe are the green crackers remains in doubt. One of the formulations for sparklers has aluminium. Aluminium is known to cause ‘contact dermatitis and bioaccumulation’. Another sparkler which has a ‘green cracker’ legend lists ‘Barium Nitrate-50%’ as its chemical contents. Barium Nitrate is considered poisonous and its fumes can irritate respiratory tract. NEERI has given approval to 874 firms in the country to manufacture green crackers with formulations it has approved. Besides the chemical composition, green crackers should not exceed the sound threshold of 125 dB.
To track rogue companies and reassure citizens, CSIR-NEERI has launched the Green QR app which has about 500+ downloads. The QR generated through Green Cracker web app can only be scanned through this app.
Days to go before the festival of lights, information about green crackers or their availability is not in the public domain. A week before Deepavali, on October 28, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation issued a notice: “Production, sale and use of firecrackers and series crackers or laris other than green crackers are banned and illegal imports, sale and distribution of these fireworks is a punishable offence. Teams are formed to identify shops/persons selling imported firecracker and impose severe punishment/penalties.”
With limited information in the public domain, limited awareness among citizens it remains to be seen how green this Deepavali will be in Hyderabad.
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