The ‘green’ crackers you buy this Diwali are likely illegal

Four years after the Supreme Court banned toxic pollutants in firecrackers, products sold in the market claim to be eco-friendly but remain largely untested.

On 29 September, the Sivakasi unit of the Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Matchbox Workers’ Union organized a protest. Meant to draw attention to the state of workers in the city’s firecracker industry, it was called the “Great Demonstration”.

The workers’ woes are linked to the Supreme Court’s orders. In 2017 and 2018, it had banned the manufacture and sale of joined firecrackers (laris) and those containing toxic chemicals. A well-intentioned initiative, it was meant to pave the way for eco-friendly “green” crackers. But it led to factory suspensions, job losses and wage cutbacks in Sivakasi.

“And it still …


Omkar Khandekar

Omkar specializes in long-form narrative features and has reported from India, the UK, Germany and the Maldives. He writes across beats, from politics and crime to cinema and sports. His works have been published in Indian and international outlets including The Caravan, Mint Lounge, the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.

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