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What are Green Crackers? How to Identify Them?

Oct 22, 2022

Green Crackers

Today's edition of Current Affairs is here and in this edition we will talk about what are Green Crackers and to how to identify them? The topic's relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus is mentioned below.

For Prelims: Green Crackers and the Traditional Crackers, National Green Tribunal (NGT), SWAS, SAFAL, STAR, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

About: Identification of Green Crackers, Toxic metals that traditional crackers release, Harm caused by these chemicals, and Precaution while bursting green crackers.


Recently, the use of green crackers has been allowed in Chandigarh, thus the top environmental scientists of India explain the ways to identify green crackers and the harmful toxins crackers emit.

Probable Question

Why there has been an emphasis on the usage of Green crackers instead of traditional ones, explain. 

About the Green Crackers and the Traditional Crackers

  • The crackers were developed by the National Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) lab. 
  • Green crackers and traditional crackers both cause pollution and people should refrain from using either. 
  • However, green crackers cause 30% less air pollution as compared to traditional ones. 
  • Green crackers reduce emissions substantially and absorb dust and don’t contain hazardous elements like barium nitrate. 
  • Toxic metals in traditional crackers are replaced with less hazardous compounds. 
  • According to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), green crackers are permitted only in cities and towns where air quality is moderate or poor.
  • There is a reduction in the emission of sound as well in green crackers.
  • To distinguish green crackers from regular crackers, a Green Logo and a Quick Response (QR) coding system have been created.

Also read: What is Global Hunger Index and Why India is Trailing?

Types of Green Crackers

  • The green crackers that fall into the following these three categories, should only be purchased: 
    • SWAS (Safe Water Releaser)
    • SAFAL (Safe Thermite Cracker) 
    • STAR (Safe Minimum Aluminium) 
  • SWAS: 
    • SWAS is a “safe water releaser”.
    • It should have had a small water pocket/droplets which get released when burst, in the form of vapor.
    • SWAS suppresses the dust released by releasing water vapor in the air. 
    • It does not comprise potassium nitrate and sulfur.
    • The particulate dust released will reduce approximately by 30%.
  • STAR: 
    • It is a safe thermite cracker.
    • It does not comprise potassium nitrate and sulfur and emits reduced particulate matter disposal, and reduced sound intensity.
  • SAFAL:
    • It is safe with minimal aluminum.
    • It has minimum usage of aluminum and used magnesium instead. 
    • It ensures a reduction in sound in comparison to traditional crackers.

Before you move further in the article, watch the analysis of past 5 year's question papers of Environment and Geography by Rohit Lodha Sir, our faculty for Geography, and upgrade your UPSC CSE preparation:

Toxic Metals that Traditional Crackers Release

  • Crackers release several toxic metals that can be harmful to health. 
  • The white color emitted through crackers is aluminum, magnesium, and titanium, while the orange color is carbon or iron. 
  • The yellow agents emitted are sodium compounds while blue and red are copper compounds and strontium carbonates. 
  • The green agent is barium mono chloride salts or barium nitrate or barium chlorate.

Harm Caused by these Chemicals

  • Lead in crackers impacts the nervous system.
  • Copper triggers respiratory tract irritation, sodium causes skin issues and magnesium leads to mental fume fever. 
  • Cadmium causes anemia but also damages the kidney while nitrate is the most harmful and causes mental impairment. 
  • The presence of nitrite causes irritation in the mucous membrane, eyes, and skin. 
  • It not only affects the most vulnerable population which are infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions but also affects everyone.
Additional Information: 

Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation:

It is an office under the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industries. It was founded in 1898 as a nodal agency for regulating the safety of explosives, compressed gases, and petroleum.

Council of Science and Industrial Research: It is an autonomous entity under the Ministry of Science and Technology, with 38 national laboratories operating in many fields of science and technology.

News Source: The Indian Express

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