It’s that time of the year again when lights will illuminate the darkened skies, when candles will be a symbol of joy and happiness and when people will find a reason to relish on the most divine sweets, yes it is Diwali. One of the most celebrated festive seasons of India, Diwali marks some of the rarest days of the year when the whole nation is seen coming together on the occasion of some of the grandest celebrations. But while happiness and grandeur may be the outer shell of the festival, the inner core includes issues that we hardly take accountability for.
Burning of firecrackers is associated with a series of worldwide festivities which include- New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Lantern Festival in China, Bonfire Night in UK, Diwali in India and many more. Studies with regards to the effect of fireworks on the ambient air quality has been made throughout the world. Air pollution being one of its side effects, there are several others that must be taken into consideration.
One of the major byproducts of burning firecrackers is definitely considered to be air pollution. Fireworks generally contain chemical species such as Sulphur, manganese, etc., also producing various gaseous pollutants such as Sodium Oxide that usually generate dense smoke clouds, causing an increasing damage to the atmosphere. During festivals, an alarming increase is also seen in the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matters (RSPM) which mainly include- dust, fumes, smoke and gases. Adversely they tend to impact the human health causing lung cancer, respiratory diseases, and serious allergies, definitely drawing questions on the welfare of our society!
Another alarming concern that arises from the massive bursting of crackers is most certainly noise pollution. The relentless bursting of rockets and other crackers is known to create noise more than the allowed decibel limit for human beings. This in turn increases the possibilities of hearing loss, high blood pressure, sleeping disturbances and in extreme cases, heart attacks. For a few days of joy and celebrations are we truly willing to create a series of long-term complications?
And finally the most concerning and heart-wrenching reason, is the welfare of people that generally wear off their hands for creating these ever-harmful products. Child labor has always been a critical topic of discussion. While it does make a great human interest story, people hardly consider the harmful environment these children are exposed to throughout the season. While in poverty stricken villages this in a way becomes a desperate measure to earn a living, rarely are the concerned officials aware of the situation, in turn increasing the seriousness of the issue. Children are drastically affected in terms of health, with their hands exposed to excessive burns and in many a cases facing psychological trauma. While several NGOs and activists stride every day to reverse theses harmful outcomes, by spreading awareness, the public too plays an important role- by deciding whether to purchase crackers or not!
Even though it’s quite necessary for us to keep in mind the harmful outcomes of the festival, we mustn’t forget the positivity that comes along every year during this joyous season. It’s usually witnessed that this time of the year accounts for a high number of employment not just among children, but across various levels of the society. This in turn leads to growth in the economy with rise in income from such job opportunities. The celebrations also bring about a great amount of unity and harmony among the diverse communities of India, creating an environment of happiness and prosperity.
While it may not be quite possible to eliminate the use of firecrackers, what’s important is for every individual to realize the adverse effect on society and in turn draw a limit. Let this festive season be an occasion for celebrating a cleaner environment, a safer society and a longer and happier life!