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Healthy Diwali finds its way in India with the ban on Hazardous Chinese Firecrackers

A pocket-friendly danger gained popularity in India, over the years leading to high levels of pollution

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Firecracker(Representational image). Pixabay

October 29, 2016: The Festival of lights which is widely celebrated all over India with great pomp seems to have lost its glamor this year because of the ban on the popular Chinese fireworks which over the years became synonymous to Diwali in India. Early this month, Central government banned Chinese firecrackers in India stating that they are hazardous. Moreover, the government never gave any license or permission for the import of such fireworks.

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So, why exactly are Chinese fireworks problematic?

The Chinese firecrackers that make their way into India are undoubtedly pocket-friendly but they contain highly unstable potassium chlorate, a sharp jolt is enough for them to explode. The chemicals used in those Chinese firecrackers are toxic and can cause allergies and skin diseases. Whereas, Indian firecrackers are inert as they use potassium and sodium nitrates which make it safer.

In India, since 1992 the use of potassium chlorate in firecrackers has been banned and is only permitted in small quantities and for specific purposes like for manufacturing match heads, for scientific purposes and other such things.

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China, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of firecrackers, makes a wide range of these products containing Potassium chlorate or perchlorate in firecrackers which make them burn brighter and last longer. Also, the cost of potassium chlorate is almost third that of potassium or sodium nitrate. So, a pocket-friendly danger gained popularity in India, over the years leading to high levels of pollution. High amount sulphur and potassium chlorate in those crackers produces toxic oxides which in turn cause eye irritation, prolonged exposure can even lead to bronchitis and other health issues.

China, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of firecrackers, makes a wide range of these products. Potassium chlorate or perchlorate in firecrackers makes it burn brighter and last longer. Also, the cost of potassium chlorate is almost third that of potassium or sodium nitrate. So, a pocket-friendly danger gained popularity in India, over the years leading to high levels of pollution. High amount sulphur and potassium chlorate in those crackers produces toxic oxides which in turn cause eye irritation, prolonged exposure can even lead to bronchitis and other health issues.

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According to The Indian Express, “Fireworks worth Rs 1,500 crore are smuggled into India each year. Crackers worth Rs 9 crore were seized from the inland depot in Tughlakabad earlier this month.”

– by Pinaz Kazi of NewsGram. Twitter: @PinazKazi

  • Antara

    This ban was extremely important! Hoping for a pollution-free celebration!

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Our Senseless Consumerism Hurting Environment

Let’s pledge to restore our pale and sickly environment to its vibrant greenery.

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Fireworks, environmentalists
SC permits bursting of only green firecrackers. Pixabay

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.

fireworks
We have to reform our culture and tradition for the sake of saving the beautiful creation of God.

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.

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.

Fireworks
For newly born babies, each burst of firework is a “nightmare”

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?

Fireworks, environmentalists
The ban would be in force throughout the year. These conditions would also be applicable to marriage festivities. Pixabay

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 setting up of 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.