As the festival of Diwali approaches bringing in joy to Indian masses, along comes the pollution. Amongst all the crackers that wrap the environment in a stinking ‘gunpowder’ mess, the snake tablet cracker tops the chart. According to the Chest Research foundation and Pune University, a snake tablet emits the highest amount of particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter(PM2.5).The effect of this 12 seconds of joy lasts for about 3 minutes. The permissible extent of the PM2.5 is only 50 mcg/m3 as these particles, which are less than 2.5 microns in diameter are capable of reaching the deeper parts of the lungs, hence causing , much more damage.
Following the snake tablets in matters of pollution, are the ladis, pulpuls, fuljhadis, chakris and other crackers of the kind. Dr Sundeep Salvi, director of the CRF told the IE that this was perhaps the first time that studies and comparisons have been made between levels of PM2.5. He also informed that the findings of the study, of which he was the main author had been presented to the European Respiratory Society in September.
He said that the motive of the study was to find out the firework that produced the most amount of air pollution. He also informed that the experiments had been conducted during November-December in 2015. CRF’s senior scientist, who was one fo the supervisors said that the study found out the crackers which were the most harmful in terms of the releasing PM2.5. She also sated a known fact that Children run these crackers, such as the fuljhadi, snake tablets, pulpul, chakris and annar from a very close distance and end up inhaling a huge amount of smoke particles. The researchers also came to the conclusion that the ladies with 1000 crackers are the 2nd most harmful after the snake tablets. It showed that they burn out in 48 seconds and release 38,540 mcg/m3 PM2.5, which last for a good 12 minutes in the environment. It was also found that the near produced the least level of pollution amongst the most popular crackers.
Salvi said that they do no as to why this happens but speculated that it may be because the PM2.5 levels had been measured at a height of 3ft and distance of 6ft. “Or there could be better combustion of the firepower in the near than other fireworks,” Salvi added. The 6 firecrackers were individuals burnt 5 times each, in an area of an average house and were set off from a distance that a normal person would usually maintain. Sufficient amount of time was provided for observation to study how long does it take for the PM2.5 to subside. The PM2.5 levels had been measured using a light scattering photometer, Thermo PDR 1200, USA, which calculated the number of particles and then converts them into mass, expressing them as mcg/m3.