Diwali is just around the corner and the festivities can already be seen kicking in. The lights, the decorations and the festive parties, all are in full flow. However, one unwanted evil that accompanies the festival is firecrackers, which do more harm than good during the festival of lights.
Firecrackers are the ultimate nuisance during Diwali. They not only cause air pollution but also noise pollution. They are the source of various accidents, be it burns, loss of eyesight, lung diseases etc.
Humans are not the only ones affected by it. It is a well-known fact that animals whose ears are more sensitive such as Dogs and Cats get afraid and often lose their hearing ability.
Apart from this, the environmental harms of bursting firecrackers are well documented. Firecrackers release pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, lead, magnesium and nitrate that cause various respiratory ailments. Each Diwali, reports of people complaining shortness of breath, a burning sensation in the eyes and rashes are a common sight.
It has been established that there is a clear link between the bursting of firecrackers and air pollution during Diwali. In 2015, the air quality deteriorated across eight Indian states on Diwali night, according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s National Air Quality Index. Twenty of the 26 air quality monitoring stations recorded extreme pollution on the same night.
Over the years, awareness of bursting crackers has improved dramatically. Last year, the Supreme Court banned the bursting of firecrackers a day before the festival. This year, green firecrackers which reduced emissions by as much as 30% and community light shows to celebrate the festival have been suggested.
However, all initiatives can only be successful if people decide to accept and follow them. So what do the millennials have to say about bursting crackers this Diwali?
“ I stopped bursting firecrackers a few years ago. Earlier they used to be fun, but as I grew up I could actually see the problems they cause. My brother has asthma and I see him struggling with breathing every year around this time. The pollution is clearly visible in the air at this time. The joy of burning crackers is not enough for all the issues it eventually creates, so I wouldn’t be doing it this time as well.”
“ I was of the opinion that you can burst firecrackers as it's for only a day and it’s just something we’ve done since our childhood. But last year I was taking care of my friends’ puppy as she had gone out of town. Seeing the poor animal stay under the bed throughout the night just wailing and crying broke my heart. I just couldn’t bring myself to burst even a single cracker after seeing that.
“I burst a few green ones. They’re supposed to be better for the environment and what is Diwali without crackers? But I make sure I don’t go all out with the buying and always make it a point to buy lesser and lesser crackers each year. This year I just have a few rockets and bombs that I’m going to light up.”
“Bursting crackers is just something I can't let go off. It’s just one day out of the whole year. Diwali without crackers is like Holi without colours, it’s just not possible. There are so many things that we can do to reduce pollution, just going all out and banning crackers only doesn't make sense to me.
Diwali is a festival of lights. Make sure to light up your house with diyas, lights and other eco-friendly illuminators. Bursting firecrackers not bring in air and noise pollutions and affects everyone, from the people, the animal to the environment.