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Do Not Toxify The Environment Senselessly

When will Supreme Court announce the strict regulation to restrict the plying of motor vehicles on ever-increasing roads and factories and industries which are only "blackening the very face of Mother Earth"

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Environment
Do not toxify the environment senselessly.

By Salil Gewali

The festival of light – Diwali – representing the symbolic good over evil, light over darkness, and victory of righteousness and knowledge over ignorance is approaching. Well, the colorful displays of fireworks are popular traditions during major celebrations, not only in India but also in advanced countries. Despite its popularity, the air and noise pollution emitted by fireworks contribute to the degradation of our precious environment. Also, the harmful effects of chemicals and metallic particles used in firecrackers adversely impact human lives.

 Although fireworks are a part of celebrations of almost all countries in the world, their use is limited to occasions. But, in India, particularly during Diwali, we celebrate this popular “festival of lights” predominantly by bursting fireworks. We set off rocket bombs thinking they vanish into thin air but Newton’s law gravitation brings them all back in the form of smoke and toxic ashes.

India is one of the most polluted countries in the World. Our extended periods of use of fireworks cause irreparable damage to our whole animal kingdom. In the name of Diwali, our children, with all merriment, play with various types of fancy firecrackers almost two weeks in advance causing deadly pollution, both sound, and air. For newly born babies, each burst of firework is a “nightmare”. They can’t even cry against the frightful noise.  This is nothing but our uncaring cruelty towards them.

Pollution
Although fireworks are a part of celebrations of almost all countries in the world, their use is limited to occasions.

Fire hazards are common occurrences. Needlessly to say, smoke from fireworks containing metallic particles causes severe health risks. Is it the “price” one has to pay for this mockery of enjoyment by bursting crackers? Are we aware that the different colours and light effects produced in the firework displays are achieved only by mixing “poisonous” metal powders to gunpowder? Cases of burn injuries are very common during fireworks displays among our children, as they do not keep safety tips in mind while playing with deadly firecrackers, rockets, and sparklers.

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The rotten egg smell that one gets during fireworks emanates from burnt “sulphur” which is the main ingredient of many fireworks. The fireworks that explode producing purple colour basically contain some amount of explosives and potassium compounds that cause extensive pollution in a very short period of time. Barbarous fireworks leave metal particles, harmful chemicals, smoke, and toxins in the air. These dangerous toxins do not disintegrate or break up for several days. They remain in the environment, poisoning the surroundings. People vulnerable to lung and respiratory illnesses are at a high risk of complication. Children fall sick with fever, skin irritation, vomiting, etc. The noise pollution is more dangerous than air pollution. Noise limits beyond 120db on all consumer fireworks are illegal in many countries, but in our country, since there is no voice of protest from any quarters, the products sold here are far above the permitted decibel.

Is it not a sheer stupidity that dangerous bangers, air bombs, and jumping jacks are indiscriminately produced and set off senselessly, thereby turning the festival of lights into the festival of disaster? Is it the way we welcome our Goddess Lakshmi and seek Her blessings?

pollution-
These dangerous toxins do not disintegrate or break up for several days.

Yes, with a bang, the firecracker industries have been put on notice by the Supreme Court through a verdict on the 23rd of October, 2018 restricting them from manufacturing harmful fireworks. We all should welcome it. Further, the judgment on the “reduced time” of two hours between 8.p.m. and 10 p.m. for bursting crackers during festivals like Diwali and 11.55 p.m. and half past midnight during Christmas and New Year is doubtlessly a very positive move. But when will Supreme Court announce the strict regulation to restrict the plying of motor vehicles on ever-increasing roads and factories and industries which are only “blackening the very face of Mother Earth”. Since the environment has been intensely battered by the toxic heat from our senseless “consumerism”, now is the time that a “clause” should be incorporated within our “CONSTITUTION” that Government, each and every citizen and the business houses should ensure the sincere participation in cleansing the environment. We have to change our lifestyles. We have to reform our culture and tradition for the sake of saving the beautiful creation of God. HE will be very happy and bless us with more bountiful and nourishing vegetation. So, let’s pledge to restore our pale and sickly environment to its vibrant greenery. We can’t throw the caution to the wind and our “activities” ending up in smoke any longer!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali. 

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Counting for Snow Leopards to begin, Plan to Double Numbers

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday that a protocol has been decided among the member countries to be the roadmap for enumeration of snow leopards

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Snow Leopards
The plan is to double the population of Snow Leopards in the world. Pixabay

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday that a protocol has been decided among the member countries to be the roadmap for enumeration of snow leopards.

He added that once the enumeration is completed, the plan is to double the population of snow leopards in the world.

Addressing the inaugural session of the fourth steering committee meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) programme on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day, Javadekar said the maximum population of snow leopards is in Mongolia and China.

Giving the example of India’s success in counting tigers, he said the exercise was difficult till 20 years back but now India has done it and the population has touched 2,967 tigers, which is 77 per cent of the world tiger population. India has a rich ecology with 500 lions, 30000 elephants and 2500 single horn rhinos.

On snow leopards, he said that there is confidence that once the protocol has been finalised, it will help all the countries in the count which can then strive to double the population of snow leopards in the coming decade.

India will have a separate programme on snow leopards to include green pathways in the Himalayan region where they are found to also assist in livelihood creation and create an ecosystem, the Minister said.

He added that discussion, deliberations and cooperation will help the countries to move ahead on nature conservation. The countries then need to think about capacity building in nature issues and conservation of snow leopards, he said.

Snow Leopards
Javadekar said the maximum population of Snow Leopards is in Mongolia and China. Pixabay

He said he is confident of winning this important battle against climate change by conserving nature and the animal kingdom including leopards, tigers and there is a commitment to give a better planet to the next generation.

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Reiterating India’s commitment to cooperate with all countries to conserve nature, Javadekar said it is a responsibility to protect and conserve nature as a lot of injustice has been done by cutting trees and disturbing the natural ecology. (IANS)