Firing crackers

Firing crackers

The issue of fire crackers and their negative effects has now reached the apex court. The hazardous fire cracker industry used to be in the news for the use of child labour.

The issue of fire crackers and their negative effects has now reached the apex court. The hazardous fire cracker industry used to be in the news for the use of child labour.

But, now the fire crackers are fired for yet a different type of violation of children’s rights. In view of the coming Diwali season, the issue assumes greater significance.

Festivals and traditions have evolved over years for purifying human soul and mind. But, of late competitive religious mobilisation, consumerism dominating festivities, vulgarisation of tradition etc., have all turned festivals harmful to human body, leave alone purifying soul. Religion is a sensitive subject.

Politicians and media alike feel dizzy to comment on the subject. Pollution puts purity and sanctity of festivals at stake. The time has come to call a spade a spade.

The fire crackers are part of celebration on any happy occasion from marriages to festivals. But, the intensity of their use has increased manifold over a period of time.

The sound and air pollution caused by the fire crackers has also increased to a threatening level. Children, senior citizens and the sick are more vulnerable. Their use has also become lethal with increasing number of accidents reported year after year during the Diwali season.

In fact, the deteriorating levels of air pollution are already a matter of concern. Increased vehicular traffic and other activities that intensify emission of green house gases are already posing a serious public health challenge. The indiscriminate use of fire crackers is further aggravating the problem.

Three toddlers – six-month-old Arjun Gopal and Aarav Bhandari and 14-month-old Zoya Rao Bhasin - have, in an appeal to the apex court, said their lungs are not yet fully developed and the large-scale bursting of firecrackers during the festival season of Dussehra and Diwali will further aggravate the already polluted air and will be seriously detrimental to their health, like thousands of other children in their formative years.

According to data furnished in parliament, some 80 people die from illnesses stemming from air pollution in the Delhi alone every day. This illustrates the life-threatening impact of air pollution which has already reached highly unacceptable proportions especially in our cities.

Smoke generated from fire crackers contains poisonous gases and particulate matters – which is dangerous to human health.Cumulative exposure to high levels of particulate pollution increases the risk of various respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

The Supreme Court in its earlier judgments has upheld the principle of polluter pays. But, in the case of fire crackers, this principle is not applied. No special efforts are made to clean up the air after the festival.

Fire crackers are an integral part of festive celebrations. Stifling these celebrations by banning the use of fire crackers may not go well with the people.

But, the authorities concerned can restrict their use. Imposing time and space restrictions on use of fire crackers would greatly minimise the problem. Research and innovation should develop and promote use of eco-friendly fire crackers too.

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