Udipt Nidhi | The TrickyScribe: No sense in celebrating joyous moments with fireworks. Polluting the environment is nothing but paving a way far more difficult for our future generations. Crackers damage our planet in many ways. Manufacturing of firecrackers takes a heavy toll on the environment. Fireworks use plastic, papers and cardboards.
At a time when developed countries like Germany, who already have witnessed a steady decline in pollution levels, are rolling out plans for providing free public transport in their bid of reducing pollution; we are literally buying ailments for hefty costs. Click here to read more about the plan.
They are manufactured in units that pollute the environment. They have their share in vehicular pollution as well. Firework sustains the transport industry in a big way. Right from their distribution by the truck, boats and aircraft to local collection in retail stores, fireworks do contribute to pollution.
The smoke released after fireworks are triggered comprises mainly of super-fine toxic dust that can enter the lungs. This poses an imminent threat to Asthmatic people and children. Fireworks fallout contaminates water supplies as the residue gets carried away by moving water ending up in lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Fireworks can be loud and their vibrations can travel far and wide. These sound waves are not only annoying for humans but detrimental also for birds and animals. Many birds have been seen visibly injured due to surface-to-air crackers.
Landmark ruling by the Apex Court
Doctors and environmentalists have welcomed the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling of banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR region. They have expressed a hope that prohibiting the sale of crackers selling would ensure a relatively eco-friendly and cleaner Diwali last year.
A couple of weeks ago, most of the reputed news journals have forwarded a report published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which states that there was no much difference in the pollution level heretofore and after Diwali. New Year eve also witnessed a spectacular fireworks display with huge smoke above every city across the country.
The TrickyScribe reached out to Head, Department of Botany and Microbiology, Government Danveer Tularam College, Utai, Durg, Chhattisgarh, Dr Awdhesh Shrivastava. In a candid one on one with Udipt Nidhi, Dr Shrivastava highlighted the potential health hazards that come hand in hand with firecrackers. He requested intervention on part of Supreme Court demanding a blanket ban on fireworks. EXCERPTS:
How does the pollution due to crackers impact our day to day lives?
Ever since childhood, we have come to dread our celebration with crackers for myriad reasons. Be it the festival of Diwali, the eve of New Year or even a Cricket victory is a festival in our country. Crackers are how we celebrate.
Air pollution is the post-event impact of crackers but the noise created by the crackers impacts on our eyes, ears and nervous system instantaneously. Noise levels in the vicinity touch 150 decibels against the WHO prescribed limit of 20 decibels.
Further, the pollutants add to the already degrading air-quality in metros. Another side-effect which at times stays ignored is the people who are suffering from mental issues. There’s a significant rise in anxiety level and such increased apprehension may lead to hyperventilation and other life-threatening consequences.
If we talk of the effect of pollution on other life forms, the silence of minuscule population of birds and animals in our cities is a proof of the excess of sound and air pollution. Birds are very sensitive to sound waves.
#TRICKYALERT There’s another hidden story behind the manufacturing of crackers that is unknown to many. Thousands of children are involved in the racket of producing this carcinogenic substance. The days following the festival are covered up the tragic stories of children losing their eyes and subjected to traumatic respiratory disorder.
Elaborate on the chemicals used in manufacturing crackers. How is that unhealthy?
Harmful to grossly toxic chemicals are used in producing crackers. Sulphur dioxide causes wheezing and shortness of breathing is used in large quantity. Cadmium is also used that causes anemia and damages the central nervous system. It attacks the neurons and even our DNA. Most of the coloured lights in the crackers are due to Cadmium. Lead, another threat to our nervous system is used too. Transition metal nitrates are also used. They can cause mental impairment, damage to kidney and respiratory tracts.
Are crackers related to the phenomenon of Global Warming & Ozone layer depletion?
Global warming and Ozone layer depletion are major issues. A major source of global warming is the release of hazardous gases into the atmosphere. Crackers release poisonous gases which are responsible for Global Warming. This, in turns, eventually leads to ozone layer depletion. CFCs and other halogenated ozone-depleting gases like Chlorine and Bromine are responsible for ozone layer depletion.
Which age group of people is most affected by the pollution released by crackers?
Numerous studies show that higher cough reflex sensitivity (CRS) is more in children as compared to adults; and is more in males as compared to females. Air pollutants influence our respiratory tracts, especially in the toddlers.
According to Centre for Science and Environment, the rate of death was seen to be higher in children than adults. Lancet Commission Report on Health and Pollution says that some 9 million deaths occur in India every year due to air, water and chemical exposure. Air pollution alone is responsible for 6 million deaths every year.