The fizzes and bangs of fireworks that light up the night sky have become synonymous with the festival of Diwali. The whizzing colours and the explosions that leave your heart pounding may be fun, but these pretty pollutants come at a price.
On Diwali, the pollution rate of the city is known to shoot up by 30%. Firework smoke contains miniscule metal particles that make up the colours, and perchlorates that are used to propel them in the air. The perchlorates used are from a family of reactive chlorine and oxygen compounds. The toxic particles linger in the air for days and are not only harmful for those with respiratory problems but even perfectly healthy people.
These terrific toxins are equally destructive to our environment. The amount of garbage after Diwali day is phenomenal. On each day of Diwali, Pune has recorded up to 10,000 metric tonnes of garbage as compared to the usual 1,700 tonnes. Most of this is left lying around the city causing health hazards as it comprises of chemicals like phosphorus, sulphur and potassium chlorate. A significant amount of paper in the form of cardboard is also used for the packaging of large crackers. During a time where climate change has become a serious concern, a thought should be shed on our ecology too.
Fireworks create immense noise pollution that cannot be overlooked; about 140 decibels of noise, which is 55 decibels above recommended. It is an even bigger nightmare for dogs, cats and other animals because they can hear four times as much as humans. It is not only out of fear that they jump, but out of pain and agony. If they aren’t directly injured during the burst, the blind panic due to the startling noise leads to injuries.
This Diwali, before you light up a firecracker, please take a moment to think whether it’s worth all of this? The air quality in the city of Pune might not have reached the severe un-livable conditions like Lucknow, but it is nonetheless very poor. Keep going like this and we’ll be hand and hand with them living in and breathing smog.
Let’s together make this a safe, noise-free and pollution-free Diwali, Punekars.