It is that time of the year where we pamper ourselves with the occasional Gulab Jamun, Ladoos, running around our households creating nothing less than a chaos and most importantly with the pandemic still present and on the surge, a tiny bit of fear to celebrate the same is natural. For those celebrating it this year, the masks would be an additional accessory for safety reasons. With the festive season around us, it is important for us to be mindful of our choices especially in terms of choosing whether to light Diyas or igniting harmful fireworks into the environment.
As for my family, we switched to lighting Diyas ever since 2013 as we too have been party to ruining the environment, increasing air pollution over the years. I confess that lighting Diyas have not been as thrilling as igniting the fireworks into the sky because it is an innate and engrained tendency for us to get mesmerised by the luminous lights and colours but I do have a sense of relief that my family and I are doing the best of our capabilities to be careful and conscious of our festive choices and our regular lifestyle choices. Why is it important for all of us to do the same?
Read further to know the real scare behind these fireworks that are glamorous on the outside as well as things each of us can do at the individual level to create a safe space for rejoicing the authentic spirit of the nation-wide fiesta.
The first and foremost concern about these fireworks is that they comprise of chemicals that cause breathing difficulties not only for humans but also for animals with respiratory disorders such as bronchitis, allergic rhinitis etcetera which we are mostly unaware of. Moreover, when these chemicals are infused in and around the air we breathe, they trigger unwanted health concerns for all and those who have been perfectly healthy. Several research papers have stated that the chemicals in these fireworks are metals such as lead and cadmium who generate oxides namely Sulphur, phosphorous, nitrogen and carbon. Not only do they cause physical impairments when coming in contact with these chemicals for a prolonged period of time but also mental impairments as they are a source of irritants for our skin and our neural network.
At this point, there has been enough and more jargons pertaining to the chemicals. Now let’s discuss some of the relatively easier options to celebrate Diwali in a more safe and sustainable manner as the notion of it seems like a Herculean task for many across the country.
Firstly, which is most vital owing to the pandemic, DO NOT USE SANITISERS BEFORE TOUCHING DIYAS or any firework as they are inflammable and touching them after sanitising can cause burns within the fraction of a second (we do not want those burns while clicking photos). Be super cautious while celebrating the festival.
Secondly, look around your home and unearth the Earthen lamps /Diyas and light them up for the festival. It not only is the safer option but somehow brightens up our surroundings with a beautiful warmth which are irreplaceable. Fun fact: Lighting diyas saves electricity by tons of voltage. Besides, if you have pets such as myself, using fireworks is not the best option as they can freak out my dogs as well as the neighbouring ones.
Thirdly, with a rise in eco-friendly festive products in the market, opting for those keeps us free from our guilt in ruining the environment as well as being able to witness the colourful lights in the sky is a reminder of our fond Diwali memories. It is the best of both worlds. Online platforms like Amazon have numerous options for us consumers out there for us to choose from. But keep in mind that choosing from the options can drive you mad like it did for me. Green crackers and E-crackers are some of the well-known options available. Most of these products are certified by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The Council sets out several criteria which the manufacturers are expected to adhere by.
The above mentioned are some of the many steps we can do to be responsible during yearly celebrations. There is still a long road ahead of us in order to celebrate festivities and go about our lives like it did before the pandemic. But with the new-normal as the new norm and awareness being spoken around several global challenges, we can unquestionably do the best to our know-hows in order to enjoy our lives on a more qualitative level.