So it’s Diwali and while most of us are in a festive mood as we look forward to spend a joyous evening, the Khurana family aren’t a happy lot. 4-year-old Anushka Khurana has been suffering from acute bronchitis ever since she was a baby. The meaning of Diwali has changed over the years for this family, it went from being a delightful and pleasurable festival to one that usually ends with an emergency hospital visit.
Such is the plight of many men, women and children, who for no fault of their own are made to suffer in agonizing pain, just because a few people cannot seem to celebrate a festival without the unnecessary ritual of bursting crackers and contributing to the already injured health of this planet.
When did the festival of lights turn into the festival of pollution? When did we become so inconsiderate and insensitive to the predicament of others? Are we really blind to the very real problem of climate change?
The following facts are something each one of us need to know before we burst another cracker:
- One Diwali night causes as much damage to the ecology as regular pollution does over the span of a year.
- The amount of garbage released on the day after Diwali is phenomenal. Approximately 4,000 additional metric tons of garbage is released in Delhi alone, and twice the amount in Mumbai. This garbage is extremely hazardous for our enfeebled environment. It comprises of chemicals like phosphorous, sulphur and potassium chlorate, and tons of burnt paper.
- In the year 2012, the pollution level in some capital cities were at frightening levels after Diwali. Even 11 days after the festival, some capitals were covered in a thick blanket of Smog due to the suspended pollutants in the air. According to the WHO, in 2012, around 7 million people died of air pollution.
- Air pollution goes up by 30 per cent during Diwali.
- Countless numbers of voiceless animals suffer in silence year after year due to the increased decibel levels and air pollution.
- During Diwali, people have 20 per cent higher risk of death from lung cancer.
- Noise pollution levels rise by 6 times the normal limit.
- “The fireworks industry still employs over 100,000 child labourers”- Kailash Satyarathi, Nobel laureate and child’s rights activist.
- In the year 2014, there were 220 incidents of fire in Delhi on Diwali.
So the next time you think of buying crackers make sure to keep these facts in mind. The planet does not need any more problems than it already has! We cannot afford to hurt the environment any further. This festival is the celebration of good over evil, it is a celebration of the goodness in each one of us and it’s high time we understood the scary impact our recklessness has created over the years. While we cannot undo what’s been done, we can certainly prevent further damage and injury to this planet.
Climate change is real, climate change is dangerous and we are responsible for it. It’s not just our imagination. The average global temperature for land and ocean surfaces was the highest last year among all years since record keeping began in 1880. The average temperature surpassed the previous records in 2005 and 2010 by 0.07 degrees. In less than 30 years, the polar bear playground in the Arctic may no longer have any ice.
From 1993 to 2003, excessive heat exposure contributed to more than 8,000 premature deaths in India alone. So it’s not just the Earth’s health that could be at stake!
After all, sustainability is something we will only achieve once we realize that we haven’t inherited this planet from our ancestors, but have rather borrowed it from our children!