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SwitchON Foundation released a perception report capturing the citizen’s perception on firecrackers and the prevailing trends

With another year of Kali Puja and Diwali celebrations around and insufficient stocks of green fireworks in the market. There are apprehensions about return of illegal sale of toxic fireworks in the city and its aftermath amids strict warning and vigilance from the city police and pollution control board during the upcoming festival season.

The state government had put restrictions allowing only the sale and use of green crackers during the festival as per the directions received from the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court, which had said that only green fireworks bearing QR codes would be imported and sold in the state with permission for usage from 8 PM – 10 PM only.

Every year the situation goes out of control as despite warnings people indulge in bursting regular firecrackers with toxic air that engulfs the city causing air pollution. Toxic Fireworks contain high concentrations of dangerous atmospheric pollutants like SO2, NO2, carbon, which are highly toxic for already polluted cities like Kolkata, recently ranked the second most polluted city in the world. Green crackers on the other hand are known to emit 30% less pollutants than regular crackers. Moreover, these crackers also make less noise, showing a drop to 110 decibels from 160 decibels. In 2020, the National Green Tribunal banned the sale of all types of firecrackers in any district with AQI above 201.

Based on this realization, SwitchON Foundation released a perception report today capturing the citizen’s perception on firecrackers and the prevailing trends. This provides valuable insights, capturing the behavioral patterns on the urgency of the issue and how people are adopting the good practice of emission free festivals into their lives. .Ms.Priyanka Ghosh, Teacher at  Birla High School Mukundapur said “The perception survey on green firework is really encouraging for my students as it creates the necessary awareness about green fireworks and the growing air pollution in the city.”

The report is based on primary and secondary compilation of data on the basis of a survey and citizen’s poll covering about 359 citizens in and around Kolkata. Focusing especially on the perception of both buyers and sellers on celebrating Diwali with minimal emissions using green firecrackers as a norm for the present as well as the future.

Findings from the survey:

●      From those responded to the survey about 75 percent (%) expressed their willingness to buy Green Crackers. While about 97 percent (%) showed their willingness and readiness  towards reducing Air Pollution.

●      Of those surveyed 36 percent (%) of the firecracker sellers were familiar with the term Green Crackers. Out of which about 50 percent (%) could differentiate green crackers with normal toxic crackers, while None of the respondents identified marks of green crackers.

●      About 36 percent (%) of the respondents sellers of crackers said that the sale of crackers would go down this year.

●      88 percent (%) respondents in Kolkata clearly associated air pollution with bursting of firecrackers. The poorer the perception about air quality, the more tendency to agree with such association is observed.

●      69 percent (%) of the respondents in Kolkata reported not having been bursting any firecrackers. Suggesting that people are spending less money on purchasing firecrackers and are gradually shifting more towards house decoration and illumination.

●      While a significant percentage were ignorant and were happy with the prevailing Kolkata’s air quality. Poorer the perception about air quality, the more aversion people have from fire crackers.

●      Only 24 percent (%) of the overall respondents from Kolkata know about Green Crackers. Interestingly, those who have poor perception about Air Quality are less familiar with Green Crackers than those who have good perception.

●      The tendency of respondents from West Bengal to burst fire crackers goes down with heightened anxiety about impact of poor Air Quality on Family, thus is inversely associated.

Dr. Arup Halder ,Consultant Pulmonologist at the Woodlands Super Specialty Hospital said ,”This is very important information as it provides us data on the quantity of existing trends about awareness on green fireworks and how people are taking action.

The Supreme Court allows only use of green firecrackers in West Bengal after verification of QR Code.

Violation of this order is a punishable offense.

The permitted period:

·         On Diwali (24.10.2022) for 2 hours, from 8 pm to 10 pm

·         On Chhat Puja (30.10.2022) for 2 hours, from 6 am to 8 am

·         On Christmas (25.12.2022) & New year’s Eve (31.12.2022) from 11:55 pm to 12:30 am for 35 minutes

·         1800 34503390 (toll-free), (033) 23353913, (033) 23358212)

Issued in public interest by the Department of Environment and the West Bengal Pollution Control Board

Speaking during the release of the perception study, Vinay Jaju, MD SwitchON Foundation said “Let us celebrate this Kali Puja and Diwali in a cleaner and greener way.” He further added “We have no right to indulge in joy and festive vigor at the cost of the environment or the health of our fellow citizens.”

SwitchON Foundation also plans to conduct various awareness activities around the festival involving various schools and college students across the state under the theme ‘Smoke Free Diwali’.



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