New Delhi: Diwali promises to be truly a festival of lights this year with an increasing number of environmentally-conscious people in the metros, especially in the national capital, opting for eco-friendly and smokeless firecrackers.
Made of recycled paper, eco-friendly crackers do not contain as much chemicals as conventional firecrackers, and thus emit less smoke and noise.
"Unlike the normal cracker making method, the eco-friendly crackers are based on vacuum combustion method. These crackers produce colourful sparks with a considerable sound and less smoke," A. Muthu, a fireworks dealer in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, told reporters.
"All the major metros demand eco-friendly crackers, while people in villages and small towns still prefer high-decibel crackers," Muthu said.
According to a recent survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Sivakasi, home to over 9,500 firecracker factories, produces almost the entire fireworks output of India.
It has increased production of smokeless firecrackers due to rising demand.
"With demand increasing for environment-friendly crackers, we are producing more of them by adding less of chemicals like sulphur and potassium nitrate," another dealer S. Anbumani said.
He said Delhi and Kolkata lead in the purchase of these varieties.
"There is definitely a shift in choice among the customers. Earlier, they used to prefer high-decibel crackers. Now, over 55 percent go for eco-crackers, which do not cause much noise pollution," said Piyush Sharma, a shopkeeper in Sadar Bazar in Delhi.
Costing from Rs.15 to Rs.3,500, these crackers are also less expensive than the traditional ones.
"The `magic whip`, a long red-coloured string which doesn`t emit smoke, whistling sparkler and crackling bullet -- a rocket which produces a colourful explosion, are good option for kids," another shopkeeper Shavi Aggarwal said.
And for people who want to have a blast on Diwali, these varities are great for having fun without feeling guilty about harming the environment.
"Diwali is known for fireworks, it is not complete without bursting crackers. So the best way is to opt for eco-friendly crackers and save the environment without dampening the festive mood," said Akhilesh Gupta, a businessman.