Say no to crackers, celebrate ‘Green Diwali’…!

Diwali is India’s blockbuster festival. It is a time for fun, frolic and families coming together to celebrate the traditional festival of lights. It is celebrated across the length and breadth of the nation with much fanfare and enthusiasm.  It is a harbinger of new beginnings as it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi pays a visit to the houses of devotees in the middle of the dark night, and blesses them with wealth and happiness. It is called the festival of lights because it symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair.
As we all know that the pollution level in almost all big and many small cities in our country have reached an alarming level. The bursting of fire-crackers makes the pollution level more worst. Therefore, we must not forget to celebrate this mega festival in green-way and use only eco-friendly fire-crackers.
Every winter, when we cannot breathe, we discuss air pollution. But we need action not just in the few winter months when the pollutants settle close to the ground because of inversion when the wind is low and moisture traps the toxins. We need to understand that sources of pollution — other than the stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana — are constant. We just don’t feel that the air is foul and deadly because there are sun and wind, which disperses pollutants. But it does not make it better for our lungs.
The Delhi government recently imposed a complete ban on the sale and bursting of all firecrackers, including green crackers, from November 7 to 30, after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal reviewed the worsening air pollution and the COVID-19 situation in the national capital.  Last year, the Delhi government had distributed five million N95 anti-pollution masks to students in government and private schools. With air quality plummeting to dangerous levels around Diwali every year, the Supreme Court had also banned polluting firecrackers last year.
Having a ‘Green Diwali’ may not be the first thing that pops into our minds, but we do have to stay focused on the environmental impact of this festival and do our bit to be sensitive amidst all the celebrations. Crackers are obviously an environmental issue and are especially under the scanner for all sorts of hazardous reasons — from workers’ safety, users’ safety, noise levels, air pollution and now the latest on them being imported from China.  We must know that there is also a lot of garbage created with all the paper and cardboard waste that comes from the packaging, which cannot be recycled or repurposed. It is left lying on the roads only to become part of our landfills. In fact, the garbage of the crackers which is left over after the enjoyment is a major problem to be considered.
So, let’s all take a pledge to celebrate ‘eco-friendly’ Diwali this time. There are many ways and tips to celebrate ‘Green-Diwali’. A few tips are here----   (1) Avoid bursting crackers, at least we must limit the use of firecrackers (2) Firecrackers leave the air hazy and the surroundings full of noise, and we wake up to the streets littered with waste the next morning, (3) Use traditional lighting, (4) Give Thoughtful Gifts, (5) Use eco-friendly natural colours for rangolis, (6) Give sugar a miss, eat healthily, and (7) Avoid the use of plastics.
Have a joyful, bright and cracker-free celebration and feel great about the fact that you are saving our planet by doing so.

Happy Diwali!

- Prabhakar Purandare

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