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“Bursting Crackers Just One Day A Year Does No Harm”, Really? Here’s Your Much Needed Guilt Trip

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By Anshul Tewari:

Diwali crackersSo you had a great Diwali celebration with fire-cracker-bursting sessions with friends, didn’t you? Here’s what – according to a report by The Meteorology Department, Delhi has recorded the highest level of Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) pollution post-Diwali this year at 531 mg per cubic metre – more than five times higher than the normal level leaving many at risk of respiratory problems – followed by Kolkata where the suspended particulate matter level was 417 mg per cubic metre and Chennai at 320 mg per cubic metre.

Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter, you ask? RSPM is the microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. The sources for RSPM can be man-made or natural, but with regards to RSPM suspended during Diwali, it is definitely man-made. RSPM can also lead to premature deaths and asthma, which are just a couple of the health issues that backpack themselves along with it.

According to the report, Punjabi Bagh in New Delhi registered the highest level of 194 micrograms per metre cube of nitrogen oxides.

Delhi had registered high levels of  carbon and nitrogen monoxides, and coupled with a wind speed of around 0.3 metres/second the city virtually choked with the escalated air pollution level. The Meteorology Department also added that humidity on Friday oscillated between 50 and 90 percent.

So what does all this mean? Earlier this year, Delhi was named the city with the highest pollution in the world by the World Health Organization. While many people try and justify bursting crackers on Diwali by stating that it is only a one day affair and cannot add much to the existing pollution by industries and cars, the fact is that even a day’s worth of pollution can turn deadly for the health of the city and the country. Just because someone else is doing more bad to health and environment, it does not excuse you to add to it, even if in small quantities.

According to health experts, a few health concerns that Diwali brings along include acute asthma attacks; chronic lung diseases; bronchitis in patients who are allergic, causing severe dry, irritating cough increasing in intensity while speaking and at night; apart from eye and nasal irritation and damage to the eardrums.

Firecrackers are something that many of us look forward to during Diwali. But remember, these few seconds of joy not just hurt the environment, but also cause serious health problems. From the gasses they emit to increasing air pollution (by nearly 30 percent), the toxic air during and post-Diwali is not just dangerous for those with respiratory problems and lung diseases, but also for others.

Well, now that the damage has been done, you might want to pacify yourself by thinking that the pollution levels this Diwali have been less than the 2013 Diwali celebrations, however, they have been equally (if not more) damaging.

So while you move on about your life and the next Diwali arrives, remember that a cleaner Diwali is indeed a happier Diwali for everyone.

You must be to comment.
  1. vivzkestrel

    Well nice article, not to mention the fact that animals, birds and every other species other than human beings really get upset with all the loud crackers.

  2. Babar

    I thought that this article was going to talk about how many children get burnt in Diwali, due to lack of precautionary measures, but it talks about insignificant issues, ranging from pollution to health problems, which have been exaggerated to no end. The bottom line is, children have fun, and Diwali is to bring smiles on the faces of children. Parents must be careful and supervise their children while bursting crackers.

    1. just a human with no gender,no religion and no nationality

      Don’t you care about the environment Babar? Don’t you care about the future generations?
      Great article Anshul!
      Diwali is mostly the most enjoyed festival by kids. N u have done a great job in making people think what they do not even care about. Diwali is a festival of light. But along with this why do not we become more eco friendly? Not only in the case of festival but every time. If each one of us work the cells of our brain we are to understand that it is our reponsibility to make sure that human race does not become the cancer of our earth.

    2. Babar

      With tens of millions of vehicles and factories emitting pollutants every single day, I would not be worried about children celebrating Diwali once a year. If you are worried about the environment, talk about some real issues polluting it. Same goes for health problems. Combat some real factors contributing to health issues. Besides, you have reiterated my point, “Diwali is mostly the most enjoyed festival by kids.” And since you claim that we should become eco-friendly, would you like to give us some suggestions, otherwise your comment will come across just as extraneous as the article.

    3. Gayatri

      Babar..answer to your point is already mentioned in the article…There may be another 100 other things polluting the environment more than you but that doesn’t justify your act..every act counts..there are many other ways to make it enjoyable to kids…light Dias or candles all over the place,make them distribute sweets in the neighbourhood
      .just few thoughts wchich occurred to me just now..

    4. Babar

      Gayatri, the main pollutants, as mentioned, are vehicles and factories. Compared to those, the amount of pollution due to the crackers is negligible. Furthermore, do you seriously think that lighting candles is a substitute for the fun and enjoyment gained from bursting crackers, or are you writing a comment just for the sake of downplaying my comment?

    5. Sampath

      Well, Anshul dont you think your article is quite idiotic in the first place when you have only mentioned Diwali as an example for environment, noise pollution whatever. why dont you have the guts to also take US New year, Paris Eiffel tower, Australia sydney bridge new year celebrations where they burst crackers in huge amounst on midnight of Dec 31st which also pollute their surroundings and also disturb their pets. Why you have only problem with Hindu festivals and celebrations? You sound more like a person who is part of the Anti-Hindu propaganda than a unbiased writer. Pure double standards and nothing else here

  3. Ankur C. Roybarman

    I agree with you dear sir. But you must admit that Diwali is not the only day of the year that contributes to pollution, yes? On every other one of the 364, the people may not cause, as you say, “Five times higher than normal”, but they will cause the ‘normal’, yes? Or have I misunderstood you? What I am Not trying to say is, “Diwali is harmless ’cause it’s only one day o’ the year.” What I Am trying to say is, “Diwali is harmful, but it will not be doing enough if one was to ban the festival of lights while ignoring the ‘normal’ pollution caused every day.”

  4. A. Gadre

    Nice article. All the monies people burn on Diwali…….when there are so many poor people. Also who sweeps up the litter of the burnt fireworks? In the town we live in, in the US, it is forbidden to celebrate even the 4th of July with fireworks.

  5. Amit

    Mr Tewari, what a brilliant article however i have a different opinion i have read somewhere that charity begans at home, may be you can compensate for few ignorant souls like me and stop using your car for a year and help reducing global warming.
    Or may be organize a “candle march” to make people aware how sick hindu festivals are, affer all we secular librals are good at it, we can easily close our eyes for all other factions and their customs and point at sloppy hindus as they dont care about it much either and are easy target.
    if someone tries to defend he is for sure a part of saffron terrorism which is far more alarming than other terrorist outfits, how can they defend majority.
    Mate get over this sick mentality and grow up, there are many more things that harm “your earth”.
    food for thought :- Try looking into statistics for impact of meat processing which takes place after a day ritual sacrifice by our brothers.

    please note i am not being radical fanatic, i am trying to convey a message why only diwali or holi.
    I enjoy all festivals and hate people who tell me what to do, and i even more hate pesudo intellectuals who try to create a difference.

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