Celebrating Diwali Responsibly
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We are aware that fireworks are dangerous, can cause bodily harm if mishandled and are also known to have devastating effects on our environment. Yet, around this time of the year, we choose to celebrate the triumph of good over evil by lighting up the night sky with toxic pollutants.
Yes, the show might be spectacular, but at what cost? Read on to find out:
According to Fireworks! - American Chemical Society, the source of most fireworks is a small tube called an aerial shell that contains explosive chemicals. All the lights, colours, and sounds of a firework come from these chemicals. During the explosion, the salts end up as toxic aerosols in the air, water and soil. Which, when consumed can cause a variety of health problems ranging from, vomiting, diarrhoea, thyroid issues to kidney diseases and cancer.
Moreover, with regards to air pollution, the chemical reactions from the fireworks release harmful primary greenhouse gasses that are responsible for climate change. According to Forbes, during the festival of lights in 2019, the concentrations of airborne pollutants were pushed even higher than normal in already severely polluted Delhi. The resulting emissions maxed out the Air Quality Index at 500, a hazardous Air Quality Index value, wherein everyone was advised to avoid outdoor activity.
Let us not forget that hundreds of firecrackers going out at once, create excessive noise. These sudden sounds aside from being devastatingly loud can also result in hearing damage, trigger individuals with PTSD, scare pets and cause a nuisance to senior citizens.
Also, during a time when the Coronavirus is widespread and wreaking havoc across the country, the smoke coming from firecrackers might aggravate respiratory problems for patients suffering and recovering from COVID.
Fireworks represent so much more than just a mind-blowing, colourful show. They are toxic pollutants, causing atmospheric and health disasters. Owing to which, several states in India have imposed a firecracker ban ahead of Diwali.
Hence, it's time we unite as a nation, and pay heed to the adverse effects of firecrackers, recognize the pitfalls of celebrating in this manner and look at safer alternative activities to celebrate this auspicious festival.
Moreover, following a greener way of life, not only during the festive season but also throughout the year, is what we should be ultimately aiming for. It's each of our responsibility to do our bit, in our own little ways and protect our planet for the generations to come.
- Fireworks!. https://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/articlesbytopic/oxidationandreduction/chemmatters-oct2010-fireworks.pdf
- The science of fireworks - Research Features. https://researchfeatures.com/the-science-of-fireworks/