A noiseless Diwali please!

Monday, 18 January 2021



A noiseless Diwali please!

Subhasish Das | November 03, 2018 14:44 hrs

Diwali, the festival of lights that symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance, is around the corner. It also inarguably is the only Indian festival celebrated globally albeit in multifarious ways. While the rest of the world celebrates and assuages itself with lights and colour, in India, Diwali is also sadly associated with a rather annoying phenomenon, the ear-splitting sound of firecrackers that makes many of us happy. As mankind continues to plunge itself into new lows every day abetting unrestrained emission of greenhouse gases, rampant deforestation, ever-multiplying vehicles on the road emitting toxic fumes, the high decibel crackers bursting every nanosecond make Diwali nights invidious and impassable further amplifying nature's misery.


The days when all of us passionately waited for this festival as kids, when there were lesser people, lesser vehicles and far lesser pollution are long gone. Over time, Diwali has transformed itself into a menacing affair with humans, animals and nature bearing equal brunt. With the reasons mentioned above that should help us repress the desire to burn firecrackers this Diwali, let us try and jettison our self-centred outlook for once and exhibit some solicitude for the animals and environment around us. Yes, there will be counter arguments from many quarters asserting that a Diwali without firecrackers would tantamount to a Christmas without the Santa. Regardless, the below reasons, I am sure, will obligate you to reject the loud, noisy and obstreperous firecrackers this Diwali:


· Firecrackers don’t come cheap. A colossal amount of money is squandered by people every year who think twice or even more before shelling out a paisa to someone in need. Such ironies exist only in our country and it’s about time we alter our ethos.


· We might be having the time of our lives bursting crackers but there are other living beings around us, less privileged, devoid of the ability to communicate the way we do. Think about them all. Fear of loud noises of firecrackers scares the s*** out of dogs and other animals who panic and are seen running helter-skelter for cover. Dogs, for that matter have an outstanding hearing ability that detects sound too faint for the human ear. Therefore, even a low decibel fire cracker is enough to drive them crazy.


· Many of the gases and chemicals released by Diwali firecrackers are carcinogenic and major air pollutants like sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide etc. Children and elderly are more vulnerable than the rest and there's an immediate danger for those with asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory discomforts. Other complications like hearing loss, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances etc. complete the vicious circle of condiments that come along.


· Fire accidents are a common occurrence during Diwali. A small spark is enough to set ablaze a whole property/area. Irrespective of how cautious one might be, trivial to serious fire related accidents do take place due to gross misjudgment of the potential dangers associated with firecrackers.


· The employment of child labourers in firecracker factories across the country isn’t a secret anymore. Often, they work in dangerous conditions leading to accidents, sometimes so serious that leaves them crippled for life. Saying no to firecrackers is the only way to stop it and save these kids.


· Firecrackers used in Diwali produce a whopping amount of waste, almost double the usual capacity of most Indian cities and towns. In the absence of a methodical and mechanized cleaning process, the waste generated thus adds to the already grim situation of waste disposal in our country.


If you are still looking for additional incentives to abstain altogether from firecrackers this Diwali, the Supreme Court order restricting the time of cracker bursting to only two hours (8 pm to 10 pm barring South India) and permitting the same only at designated places, should give you just the right stimulus. Considering all aspects including the right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right of health of over 1.3 billion people, the apex court's order looks pretty balanced and rational that refused to impose a blanket ban on firecrackers and permitted the sale of only green firecrackers in the vulnerable Delhi-NCR region that might help improve the situation there.


The real effectiveness of the move can only be assessed once the festival is over. Although easier said than done, the administration must ensure that the court directive is followed by the citizens in toto. The Indian people's utter disregard for regulations and directives during the festive season is habitual and quite well-known. With little to no sense of responsibility often displayed by the populace, it’s up to the authorities now to make sure that lawbreakers are nabbed and brought to book so that others desist from any act of misadventure. Diwali is undeniably the biggest Indian festival and its virtues should not be blown away in cacophony and smoke. Let each one of us take a pledge this Diwali to say NO to loud firecrackers and invest in a safer and greener future.

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