The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) on Monday started a programme to train fireworks manufacturers in West Bengal in making green crackers.
Following a Supreme Court order, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has prepared the formulations for green fireworks, which are supposed to emit 30 per cent less pollutants compared with traditional fireworks.
While there is a blanket ban on bursting of traditional fireworks, green fireworks can be lit during specific periods on select days.
The order was passed in 2018, but till now the state has only one valid green fireworks manufacturer, in Maheshtala in South 24-Parganas district, around 17km southwest of Kolkata.
During Diwali, most “green crackers” on sale in Kolkata and adjoining areas had come from Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu. But environmentalists found, as reported by The Telegraph, that a major part of those “green fireworks” were fake.
A monitoring team set up following a high court order, which included officials of the WBPCB and several agencies, including NEERI, came across multiple instances of violations even in government-approved Bazi Bazaars in the city.
“Today, we had a very fruitful meeting with representatives of NEERI, fire department and firecrackers manufacturers about green fireworks. There were a few confusions regarding the fire licence, which we are trying to clear through discussions,” state environment minister Manas Bhuniya said.
“Close to 200 fireworks manufacturers came to the meeting. From tomorrow, we will train them in manufacturing green fireworks,” the minister said.
A NEERI team will train about 50 manufacturers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The issue of cluster approach was discussed as it may be difficult for the individual units to set up the requisite infrastructure. The firework manufacturers from Baruipur agreed on this,” WBPCB chairman Kalyan Rudra said.
“It’s a welcome development. If we are properly trained and helped with the setting up of the required infrastructure, not only will there be fewer illegal fireworks in the market, but the local economy will get a boost. Currently, a huge chunk of fireworks sold in West Bengal is sourced from other states,” said Subhankar Manna, a representative of a manufacturers’ association.