DEEPAWALI – A FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

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deepawali

As the name suggests Deepawali is a row(vali) of lamps(deeps). In the olden day’s people celebrated it by lighting divas and candles and decorating the house with colorful rangolis to mark the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. With changing times Deepawali has now become a festival of crackers and fireworks. The actual purpose of celebrating Diwali is being defeated as it is now ignorance that is taking over knowledge.

The Ignorance

The burning of firecrackers is extremely harmful both for the environment and also directly affects human health.

It is the use of lead, copper, strontium, barium, etc metals that gives vibrant colors to the crackers. As these metals burn, they emit:

  1. Volatile organic compounds or toxic gases,

2. Ultrafine particles: These are tiny particles of less than 0.3 microns and the most dangerous of the particulate matter pollutant

3. Particulate matters of 2.5 and 10 microns

People burn fireworks and crackers only for a few hours. However, the pollution caused by them is many folds than normal pollution and it lasts several hours longer in the air.

Health Problems caused by fireworks

  1. Headaches
  2. Sore throat
  3. Anxiety
  4. Airway inflammation
  5. Trouble breathing
  6. High Blood Pressure
  7. Irregular heart beat
  8. Reduced Lung Function
  9. Pneumonia
  10. Heart Attacks

These are some of the problems a healthy person might face due to the pollutants in the air after Diwali. A person already suffering from asthma, chemical sensitivity, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) might exhibit severe bouts of coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain which might even be fatal.

Other Hazards

  1. Garbage: Left over burnt crackers on the roads and everywhere become a huge garbage disposal problem.
  2. Noise pollution: Crackers cause a sound of high decibels that leaves a numbness in the ears also leading to deafness at times.
  3. Effect on animals: Leave alone humans even animals are affected by the noise and air pollution caused by the crackers. Sometimes even birds die from being hit by the crackers.
  4. Making of the crackers: Manufacturers exploit chidren into making these firecrackers. When we burn the crackers we must remember that we are promoting child labor.
  5. Burning: We hear of several cases after Diwali of people or their homes got burnt due to crackers. In the zest to enjoy people get drunk and lose sense of carefulness and end up with injuries.

Protecting Yourself

  1. Avoid burning crackers
  2. Use green crackers approved by CSIR-NEERI that have less harmful raw materials. These green crackers to cause air pollution but the extent of pollution is 30% lesser.
  3. Technology: Scientists have invented equipment using laser technology that gives the effects of firecrackers without any air and noise pollution.
  4. Extensive use of air purifiers: Do make an effort to use air purifier specially on the Diwali and till at least two days after Diwali.
  5. Though not of much help but keep your doors and windows closed to keep large particulate matter out of the house.
  6. Help the government by abiding to the policies that the government makes to curb air pollution this Diwali

Let us once again start celebrating Deepawali in the old and traditional way of lighting lamps and candles and keeping ourselves healthy and our environment also healthy.

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