Cracker Culture: Evil that destroy all celebrations

Poonam Kumari | New Delhi

Firecrackers have been part of almost every celebration, every party and thus have embodied as an inescapable culture. With beautiful lights and colourful patterns fireworks have always amazed our eyes. But this goes beyond mere visual pleasure for few seconds. Debate has been on and off about use and rights on firecrackers, be it Diwali, Chath, Eid, Christmas, New Year or marriages firecrackers seems to be in ‘must have’ lists. Let us bring you some light upon these lit firecrackers:

Noise and Air pollution
Sounds cliché! This is not new that every year after Diwali we see an immense rise in pollution and many suffer from various diseases just because we choose this add-on cracker culture in our celebration. Celebrations are not equal to diseases but the cracker culture has done exact opposite to us.

Not so bright fire
The colors in fireworks are created by the use of metal salts. Metal salts commonly used in firework displays include: strontium carbonate (red fireworks), calcium chloride (orange fireworks), sodium nitrate (yellow fireworks), barium chloride (green fireworks) and copper chloride (blue fireworks). Purple fireworks are typically produced by use of a mixture of strontium (red) and copper (blue) compounds.

The metal salts are packed into a firework as pea- to plum-sized pellets called “stars.”

Table of Firework Colorants




strontium salts, lithium salts
lithium carbonate, Li2CO3 = red
strontium carbonate, SrCO3 = bright red


calcium salts
calcium chloride, CaCl2
calcium sulfate, CaSO4·xH2O, where x = 0,2,3,5


incandescence of iron (with carbon), charcoal, or lampblack


sodium compounds
sodium nitrate, NaNO3
cryolite, Na3AlF6

Electric White

white-hot metal, such as magnesium or aluminum
barium oxide, BaO


barium compounds + chlorine producer
barium chloride, BaCl+ = bright green


copper compounds + chlorine producer
copper acetoarsenite (Paris Green), Cu3As2O3Cu(C2H3O2)2 = blue
copper (I) chloride, CuCl = turquoise blue


A booming industry: what does it indicate?
Sivakasi, the largest producer of firecrackers have seen significant downfall in sale this year, yet a clear toxic smell in air on the eve of Dhanteras says more than just business of firecracker industry. There is downfall but the air continues to get toxic by each passing day and it will increase tremendously post Diwali.

Green Crackers: Solution or lesser evil?
The Supreme Court has also mandated the use of green crackers last year and this year the market has introduced some of these green crackers. The question is, when the situation has risen up to an extent where India has 18 per cent of global population of chronic respiratory diseases which is only increasing, do we just need to lighten the burden of toxicity or do we abolish the firecrackers without condition to prevent any more damage?

(map from this site showing present condition of India and its toxic air.)

What are we actually doing:
In a time, when acid rain is not limited to textbook information and has been more frequent than ever before, do we really need to contribute in already pathetic atmosphere around us. It’s not just air, our land and water are too contaminated by these chemicals. The burnt phuljaris and anars are there in our soil destroying natural composition of soil and water. Is it wise to suffer your health rather than being little aware and not using firecrackes at all?