Diwali Fireworks: Resulting In Air Pollution In Delhi
With pompous and vigor, we the citizens of North India closer to the capital city of Delhi were very excited about celebrating the festival of lights – Diwali 2016. The houses were decorated with lights and diya. With the growing tension in China – the radios were full of advertisements requesting citizens to use earthen diyas or lanterns and shift the revenue towards our Indian potters and avoid Chinese light products.
Fireworks in Diwali during Mughal era
Many of us do not know that traditionally crackers were not a part of Diwali celebration. There is no historical evidence or reporting of use of crackers before the Mughal period. Even during the Mughal era, Diwali was restricted to the Gujarat area and celebrated primarily using lamps until when Aurangzeb in 1667 prohibited exhibition of lamps and fireworks for Diwali.
After the Mughals, the Explosives Act restricted the sale and manufacture of the raw materials used to make crackers and fireworks for much of the British rule. The association of fireworks and crackers happened much later and can be called an act of marketing success.
Fireworks in Diwali – 2016
All this preparation was to celebrate the death of the enemy Raavan. Diwali is celebrated across North India to celebrate the return of Ram to Ayodhya. Diwali celebration now just does not remain a day of lighting lamps, worshipping whom one considers God, wearing new clothes but also burning massive number of firecrackers that pollute the atmosphere so much so that no animal, human or plant is left unaffected. The emission in urban areas near to Delhi during the recent Diwali resulted in the rise of smog in delhi. As an effect of which leads to the difficulty breathing among several people, especially childrens. Yet, that does not stop anyone of us from lighting crackers because the argument is that a Hindu festival should be celebrated in the Hindu land and traditions must be respected.
Firework and firecracker factories
Ayya Nadar and Shanmuga Nadar two brothers who were working in a match making factory in Kolkata returned home to Sivakasi with a business plan. They set up a match making factory there. In 1940, the Explosives Act made certain class of fireworks legal and the Nadar brothers created the first fireworks factory in Sivakasi. They used marketing strategy and worked hard to relate Diwali and fire crackers and succeeded in increasing their demand and by 1980 they had around 189 plants around Sivaski.
Thanks to them and many others who made their fortune from the firecracker making industry and sold us our tradition and ritual of lighting crackers on Diwali so much so that Hindu fundamentalists are not ready to understand any environmental consequence which will make them to sacrifice celebrating a Hindu festival.
Air pollution in Delhi and firecrackers
Now what is sad is the present situation, the entire northern region of India around the capital city of Delhi is choking! The state is almost in a state of medical emergency. The wealthy people are wearing expensive masks and buying purifiers for their houses and the poor are left to breathe the polluted air.
Pollution in Delhi : Statistics on air pollution
To put things in perspective, Air Quality Index (AQI)I values above 100, is unhealthy -at first for certain sensitive groups of people, then for everyone as AQI values get higher. AQI value above 300 is hazardous and the city (Delhi) air quality has been hazardous since Diwali 2016. It has already been 15 days now! In the first one week, the AQI was seen at 999. Delhi is considered as one of the worst polluted cities in the world!
Role of NGOs in spreading awareness regarding air pollution in Delhi
As mentioned above, it is nearly impossible to ban the use of fireworks for the delhi government since it can hurt the sentiments and beliefs of religious people. At such a crucial time, there are superheroes and organizations like center for Science and Environment (CSE) who are collaborating with the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and conducting training’s, awareness raising on climate change and environmental hazards.
Steps needed to be taken as preventive measures
A study report on Air Pollution in Delhi prepared by IIT Kanpur patently clarifies the sources of smog emission in Delhi including the control options which are needed to be implemented in order to cope with the problem in a time-bound manner. Since it is believed that the undermined situation could get worst in winters, Delhi government should issue daily health advisory to people since this level of pollution will not only affect those with low immunity but can also develop a host of symptoms in abled bodied individuals. These superheroes and organizations also proposed the government to issue official advice for children and ailing to stay indoors. They advised the government to shut down power plant, take emergency measures, take stringent measures on waste burning, crop burning and to propose ways of inter-state cooperation and Central Government intervention.
At this crucial stage, we should all know and understand that climate change is real and is happening and support such organizations who are working to make our lives better!