Diwali or Deepavali is the ancient Hindu ‘festival of lights’, celebrated every year in autumn or spring. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil or light over darkness. Millions of people celebrating the festival light up their houses with diyas (lamps and candles), conduct puja (prayers) and distribute sweets among their loved ones.
Over the years, the essential focus of Diwali has shifted from the festival of lights to being a show of money and status. People have started to lavishly spend on firecrackers as status symbols and slowly the true meaning of the festival is diminishing. With the following article, we hope to ignite the true spirit of Diwali and dissuade you from purchasing firecrackers this festive season.
10. Not the traditional way of celebration
Deepavali is a culmination of the words ‘deep’ meaning light and ‘avali’ meaning rows. The festival celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. The people of the Kingdom famously celebrated the day by lighting diyas (oil lamps) and distributing presents and sweets. The word ‘deepavali’ traditionally represents a row of lights and not a row of noise making firecrackers.
9. Land pollution
In the midst of all the celebration and excitement, we burst firecrackers and enjoy sumptuous meals. But what is left of all the fun is garbage created from the firecrackers outer casing, which explodes when ignited. Responsible citizens might clean up after themselves, this is not true for the rest of us. The garbage is deposited on the streets for long periods of time and might even get transferred to the soil, which is then damaged by the chemicals in the casing.
8. Harmful effects on animals
The worst effected by the firecrackers are animals and pets, who cannot voice their fear and discomfort. Unable to understand the loud noises, they retreat to quiet corners. Most animals are scared of lightening and other natural phenomena. Firecrackers to them is a foreign concept. It is important to be sympathetic to the needs of those with whom we share this planet. Celebrities like Anushka Sharma are promoting an animal friendly diwali with #PAWsitive (reference to picture given above)
7. Fire accidents
Studies show that a majority of accidents take place during the festive seasons each year. Since people are more carefree and do not take the necessary steps towards a safe celebration. Diwali is no exception. Firecrackers can have technical malfunctions, sometimes they are fake and produced illegally. This results in fire accidents and loss of property and lives. You can never be too careful around such explosives and they are highly unsafe for children as well.
6. Wastage of money
The most valid reason to not purchase firecrackers is that they are simply not a necessary buy. We can all do without these dangerous explosives. They are expensive and the thrill of bursting firecrackers is not worth the money that we spend on them. If you’re looking for another way to spend all that money, it would be more wise to give it to someone in need and donate to charities. There are always better investments for your hard earned money.
5. Noise pollution
Firecrackers can be of different types, there are the sparklers and then there are chain bombs. Bombs create a loud explosive sound, imagine hundreds of these strapped together and ready to explode one after the other. Just the thought of those dampens our Diwali spirits. What pleasure could one obtain from a series of loud explosions? It is an absolute nightmare when you are woken up by these sounds on the mornings preceding and succeeding the day of Diwali. Let’s awaken our humanity and care for the ones around us this festive season. Spare old people and new borns from the torturous explosive sounds and promote a noise free Diwali.
4. Child labour promotion
Child labourers have been employed in the Indian fireworks industry since decades. Sivakasi, a town in the Virudhunagar District of Tamil Nadu is synonymous with child labour. In the fireworks unit, the children are exposed to direct contact with various chemicals. No safety gear is given to them. Their hands are exposed to sulphur, gunpowder and aluminium powder which results in the scalding of skin. Children suffer from mental illnesses due to the stress of their work and the inhuman working conditions. In the last few years, 237 people have died in Sivakasi due to the absence of safety norms, most of them were children. The firecrackers we purchase today could be the reason why a factory employs a child labourer in the future. The parents of these children force them to work and they don’t have anyone to stand up for them. We might not be able to help them directly, but a little step today could save a child’s future tomorrow. Start the change and stop the purchase of firecrackers.
Children are the most excited during Diwali and love to burst firecrackers. Without a second thought, parents send their children to play with friends and burst crackers. One distraction could cause serious injuries that the children might have to live with for the rest of their lives. Caution is required while handling fireworks, sometimes even adults suffer from injuries due to negligence and ignorance to safety precautions. A good safety tip is to not wear clothing that can easily catch on fire in case of an accident.
2. Smog and air pollution
A study shows the pollution levels in Delhi during Diwali went up by 30 percent. City authorities were advising people to stay indoors as the capital city choked on smog after Diwali and they were unable to keep the pollution under control. The entire nation faces a short term variation in air quality post-Diwali. The festive season seems to be a bad time for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases. Levels of pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), seem to be on the rise. Colour crackers are known to be worse for the environment since they cause toxic pollution due to the presence of heavy metals.
1. Global warming
There are various contributors to global warming during Diwali. The alarmingly high consumption of electricity is the most prominent of them. All buildings are lit up with fairy lights or lights with larger bulbs, consuming more electricity. The firecrackers cause large emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas which can easily be avoided by banning the use of firecrackers.
It is necessary to spread the knowledge of the harmful effects of firecrackers. The government too should take necessary steps to curb the production and use of firecrackers. The first step towards a healthier environment, starts with your conscious decision to not purchase firecrackers this Diwali.