As though the problems of this year was not enough, there has been a new horror story leading up to the season of firecrackers – Diwali. It is already a sad fact that this wonderful ‘Festival of Lights’ has turned into an uncaring orgy of sound pollution with deafening firecrackers, and of air pollution because of the fireworks that are burnt with no thought of the damage to our immediate atmosphere – the very surrounds in which we live.
The news that has come in is about the death of a 9-year-old boy in Delhi, who lost his life after a steel tumbler placed atop a firecracker burst and the shards pierced his chest. The firecracker didn’t go off initially and the boy had approached it to check, when it exploded and cracked the steel utensil into sharp, little pieces of lethal projectiles, sharper than bullets, and just as deadly.
This sort of incident is quite common and we have all read of such happenings in earlier years, with news of accidents and even fatalities coming in from all parts of India during the time of Diwali. We have seen or heard of or read about fires caused by careless lighting of diyas and candles – especially when people wear clothes, at this time of year, which are highly inflammable. And we know that nothing effective has been done to stop this practice – either by law, by the police or by the public. Some efforts to stop the noise and air pollution were indeed made, but they were sporadic and short-lived.
The father of the dead boy said, in a chilling reminder of several such laments that fall of deaf years, “The shop owner shouldn’t have sold the firecracker to a young child.” We all know that the child is exactly of the age group that goes out to buy these dangerous firecrackers because they have been taught that exploding them is ‘fun’ and they’ve been encouraged to pursue this hazardous practice, which has morphed into ‘tradition’.
We started this post with this gory story just to drive home the dangers that lie before all of us, if the tradition of using dangerous firecrackers during Diwali continues. The wondrous festival of Lights should be allowed to return to its pristine grandeur, and not become a dance of destruction involving needless, deafening noise, explosives, smoke, carbon poisoning, damage to property, injuries, and even death. This is the first such accident reported this year – on the last day of October. If we are all not prepared to exercise the utmost caution and restraint, there would be many more such incidents in all parts of the country.
Our polite and humble request
We are not ones to be spoilers of the festive spirit. On the contrary – we encourage you to take enjoyment in whatever way you can – as this year has been a killjoy in many ways. Our only concern is for your safety. We urge you to take all the necessary precautions and also stay away from firecrackers – which were not part of the reason why this event was celebrated in the first place. It was always, since the first occasion, a celebration that showed itself through illumination. Earlier it was with traditional and ethnic methods like earthen lamps and candles. Now we have electricity and, with each passing decade, more and more sophisticated lighting, lasers, and other technological marvels that light up the night skies in memorable and beautiful ways.
Firecrackers pollute the ambient air in the atmosphere by releasing PM10 (Particulate Matter), PM2.5 (Particulate Matter), SOx (Sulphur Oxide) , NOx (Nitrogen Oxide), and CO (Carbon Monoxide). These are immensely harmful to life as well as to the ecological balance of our planet. Yes, these are the common culprits that have caused the havoc we know as global warming today.
Especially this year…
2020 has come as a curse to many, as the world shot down because of a pandemic whose comparison we cannot make with anything we have seen in our lifetimes. We already have had 1.19 million deaths due to Covid19 if we add up the known cases from almost all countries of the world. In India, alone, we have witnessed one hundred and twenty-two thousand mortalities on record so far.
The people most affected are the old and infirm and those with co-morbidities. The aged are faring badly as they have been isolated, for their own protection – but this has made their loneliness all the more poignant.
On behalf of a renowned doctor…
We, at MSK, test, sample and monitor your environment. It is our proficiency that informs us what is best for you – at your workplace and at home. MSK is engaged in the analysis of environmental pollution and the presence of toxic elements like suspended particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide, including heavy metals content from lead, nickel, manganese, chromium, and arsenic, in ambient air. We do this through our branches and laboratories throughout India. This is our area of professional expertise.
However, in this case, we are sharing the professional counsel given by a medical practitioner – for more caring and humane behaviour towards those who are already suffering from the novel Coronavirus infection. According to the report of senior remedial and healthcare experts, the smoke of firecrackers is deadly during the corona period. Our medical expert’s advice has been quoted, directly, below:
“Friends, Corona victims have the most trouble breathing. It primarily affects lungs and those who recover from corona also take a lot of time to become completely normal.
“Now the number of corona victims everywhere is high, therefore, we should take an oath that in view of the Corona pandemic this year, we and our entire family will give up firecrackers on Deepawali.
“And try to explain to everyone in your locality too, to keep away from firecrackers.
In this pandemic, this toxic gas will be very deadly for patients living at home quarantine anywhere.
“All of you should also try to not risk any of our siblings’ lives due to this toxic smoke. This step will be a great example for our own neighbour, village and city.”
It would be your greatest gift on this Diwali
On Deepawali, we have to save the poisonous smoke of firecrackers from filling the city particularly for the patients who are struggling with breathing problems or suffering or recovering from the Coronavirus.
All of you are requested to boycott firecrackers this year. Please do not get these menaces to your homes or allow anyone to play with them near your acquaintances or your own institutions. Your behavior would be reflected in other around you. Action in unison would trigger a much-needed public awakening.
If possible, please share this post with your friends.