SAY NO TO CRACKERS THIS DIWALI(DR.B.P.TYAGI)

Bursting of crackers leads to air pollution,noise pollution,land pollution,etc.They can give rise to accidents,if not handled carefully.They are a lot expensive too.It is not wise to burn money on crackers when people in our country are dying of hunger.There are a lot of small children working in these industries who have to handle a lot of poisonus stuff and are not paid very well too. I am strictly against crackers on diwali or any other occasion.
COME DIWALI and one can hear the sounds of firecrackers exploding from all directions. People of all age groups are fascinated with firecrackers, which form a prominent part of the Diwali celebrations. Firecrackers are known to cause air pollution as well as noise pollution and are extremely harmful for senior citizens and small children.
Pets such as dogs and cats also suffer on account of firecrackers as animals have a more sensitive sense of hearing than humans. It is important for each one of us to act as responsible citizens and discourage the use of firecrackers.
Firecrackers can cause hearing loss, high blood pressure, sleeping disturbances and sudden exposure to loud noise can cause temporary or permanent deafness or even result in heart attack. Nausea and mental impairment are also some of the side effects of firecrackers.
Firecrackers should be banned as they cause a number of health hazards. People come down with all sorts of respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Air and noise pollution are also the side effects of firecrackers that are responsible for various injuries. The smog that is created on Diwali is responsible for a number of accidents due to reduced visibility.”
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a non-profit organization, awareness should be created for the masses. People need to understand that bursting firecrackers is not trendy anymore. It is important for the government to organize anti-firecracker campaigns and discourage people from bursting firecrackers. Parents as well as children should be educated on the harmful effects of firecrackers and environmental laws should be implemented strictly.
Observing that the ‘Right to Sleep’ is a fundamental right, the government of India has banned firecrackers between 10 pm and 6 am, on Diwali. The effect of this ban has been very positive and the sale of firecrackers has considerably gone down.

Smoking Out Facts

Fire works and crackers – these are the ‘reflectors’ of the spirit of Diwali. To many children (and some adults), the festival is all about how many crackers they burst or what’s the newest, loudest and longest fire -cracker on the shelf! Alas! Little thought is given to the hazards these can cause.

The ‘sparkle, smoke and sound’ package of Diwali treats you to toxic chemicals, suspended particles and high noise levels. Chemicals spewed into the environment range from heavy metals like cadmium and lead to others like copper, manganese, zinc, sodium, magnesium and potassium. The suspended particles hang like a thick blanket reducing visibility and suffocating the atmosphere. Noise levels cross the threshold of human tolerance.

Firecrackers are ‘power packed’ with 75 % potassium nitrate, 15% carbon and 10 % sulphur. When ignited, they burst, allowing these powerful chemicals to come in contact with atmospheric oxygen. The combination generates noxious oxides of carbon, sulphur and nitrogen. Studies have revealed that during Diwali, the levels of these gases rise more than 100%. A Toxic Links study also points out that there exists a threat of exposure to chemicals from unburnt firecrackers too.

When we inhale air so polluted can ill effects be far behind? Irritation of the delicate lining of the airways and eyes, burning sensations in the nostrils, throat and chest congestion, coughing and smarting of the eyes are but few of the lesser serious implications. More serious conditions include aggravation of asthmatic attacks, allergies and chest infections in susceptible people, especially children and the elderly. Doctors report more cases of asthma in the period immediately following Diwali. In fact, pulmonologists say that fire works can provoke childhood bronchial asthma.

Fire is always a looming risk during Diwali. Fire accidents and Diwali go hand in hand. Each year there are many reports of burns and burning. What starts out as an evening of fun can quickly turn into a nightmare due to sheer carelessness and negligence.

Suspended particulate matter (SPM) cause ENT (ear, nose and throat) problems. With all the bursting activity at Diwali, the air is thick with suspended particles. Exposure to 100 ppm of SPM causes headaches and reduces mental agility. Though the effects may not be immediate, they can manifest as serious conditions later on. Especially vulnerable are those with heart, lung or central nervous system diseases.

Noise and Diwali are inseparable allies. Our ears can tolerate sound up to 60 dB; for each increase thereof by 10 dB, the volume and intensity of sound is doubled. When sound becomes intolerable and unwanted, it qualifies as ‘noise’. And Diwali is certainly a noisy affair! The high noise levels during Diwali can affect our auditory organs and also contribute to other ill health effects. In India, though the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has issued an ordinance stating that a cracker must be set off at a distance of 4 meters and its noise should not exceed 125 decibels, it is gaily flouted every Diwali. So too is the Supreme Courts’ order issued in 2000 that bans the lighting of firecrackers between 10pm and 6am during Diwali celebrations.

One is exposed to two kinds of noise on this day- (1) sudden noise caused by a cracker bursting close-by and (2) continuous noise of crackers and fire works throughout the festivities. Either of these could result in temporary deafness, which thankfully is reversible! More alarming is the case when a loud noise results in perforation or damage to the ear tissue. If this is extensive, then permanent hearing loss can occur. Other distressing health effects can be fatigue, over- reaction, headaches, irritability, hypertension, disturbed sleep and even heart attacks.

Populations most susceptible to noise induced health conditions are-

• Infants below one-year who have very delicate ear structures
• Senior citizens already afflicted with degenerative conditions
• People with heart conditions or hyper/hypotension
• Children and pregnant women

Throwing Light On Solutions

Without dampening the spirit of Diwali, let’s enumerate on possible means of celebrating it in a ‘healthy’ manner.

‘To protect oneself and the environment’ must be the motto on Diwali, each year. This means making sure that –

• We use only legal firecrackers
• Fireworks are lighted only in open spaces
• Only close fitting and cotton or ‘khadi’ clothes are worn, especially when lighting crackers
• A safe distance is maintained while igniting crackers
• Adults constantly monitor young children
• A tub of water is always handy in the event of a fire accident; if burns do occur, run cold water over the affected part and consult a doctor immediately
• More noiseless crackers are set off, which can give as much pleasure as noisy ones with the added advantage of retaining our powers of hearing intact!
• No firecrackers are burst close to hospitals or other ‘silence zones’
• We find more eco-friendly and humane ways of celebrating Diwali; setting the trend are the children of NCL School, Pune who celebrate Diwali differently. They share clothes with needy children. Also, many children today are aware that to a large extent, it is their lesser privileged brothers and sisters who make firecrackers under the most wretched factory conditions; so they refuse to buy crackers!

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