Diwali With Fireworks: The Darker Side of Lights

Ignoring the spiritual context of this auspicious day of Diwali in true sense, every year Indians tend to pose a threat to environment and disturb its balance in the name of this cultural festival. It has become a misconception among the majority of people that this festival is all about lighting firecrackers and enjoying these aesthetic forms of light which is nothing but a major source of air and noise pollution. According to some experts, on this day the pollution level terribly goes up by 30% and affects our environment dreadfully.

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Few days before and after the eve, toxic gases consisting of high amount of sulphur, nitrate, magnesium, nitrogen dioxide, lead, copper, zinc, sodium and many other harmful substances are released by crackers and inhaled by people at large. Chemicals like lead directly have an effect on the nervous system, while nitrate could lead to mental impairment, copper irritates respiratory tract and cadmium leads to anemia and kidney damage. Furthermore, being specific it has been estimated that every hour of fireworks leads to an upsurge in the level of compound strontium by 120 times. The presence of such compounds in the environment can cause severe damage of bones resulting into blood clotting disorders. Moreover, the suspended particles of such hazardous chemicals cause eyesight and throat related problems. It is to be noted that during diwali, the risk of death due to lung cancer becomes 20% higher. According to the Central Pollution Control Board’s National Air Quality Index monitoring portal, last year majority of air quality monitoring stations in India recorded severe air quality surpassing the worst record of Beijing, and it was confirmed that firecrackers lead to make the quality of air worse.

There is no doubt about the extent of carbon emissions which are produced during this festive season. As per numerous studies, it has been estimated that it would take 5000 trees’ entire lifetime to counterbalance 60,000 tons of such level of emission which we come into contact with on this day. It is very unfortunate that the garbage released afterwards phenomenally increases every year with an approximate 4000 metric tonnes in the Capital itself. The celebration ends up with accumulation of massive amount of non-degradable waste including plastic bags, fireworks covers and other dry waste, making the environment even worse.

The festival not only comes up with air pollution but one should know that the sudden and excessive noise pollution which is common to experience on this day, can literally cause temporary deafness, heart attack, sleeping disturbances, high blood pressure and permanent relative deafness too. Considering such hazards, crackers which can create noise of more than 125 decibels which is as loud as a Military Jet Aircraft take off, at a distance of 4 meters from the bursting point are totally banned by the law. The Government limits the noise level at 55 decibels in daytime and 45 decibels during night. But unfortunately there is no strict and regular check over it, which leads to unfortunate cases. Moreover, the noise pollution creates suffering for birds and animals too by affecting their sensitive sense of hearing.

Just by following the trend let’s not enter into the darkness of diseases and death while lightening up our homes and surroundings, and celebrate this festival with joy and cheerful manner. A single day of grand celebration with sheer number of fireworks would lead to detrimental results affecting people and environment for a long period of time.  The society as a whole should endeavour to sensitize people towards celebrating this festival as environmentally safe and not try making it a fatal in the name of celebration.

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