Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Say no to fire carckers.

If you want to know “why you should not Burst Crackers”, kindly read through!
Firstly, some basics
Do you know really Deepavali is?

Deevali, or Divali is a major Indian festival, and a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism which means Deep (light) avali (rows), a row of lights that taught us to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. Deepavali is also celebrated by Buddhists of Nepal

In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of Raja Ram of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest. The people of Ayodhya welcomed Ram by lighting rows of lamps. Southern India marks it as the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. In Jainism it marks the nirvana of Lord Mahavira. The Sikhs celebrate Diwali for a different reason; on this day, the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, was freed from imprisonment along with 52 Hindu Kings (political prisoners) whom he had arranged to be released as well. After his release he went to Darbar Sahib (golden temple) in the holy city of Amritsar. In happiness they lit candles and diyas to greet the Guru. In India, Diwali is now considered to be a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith
So, Deepavali was celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe as the "Festival of Lights," where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within every human being.
But how do we celebrate it today?
Diwali today means.
More ‘air, noise, water, land & social’ pollution due to use of lots of fire-crackers.
Which mean more patients for hospitals during & after the festival, more darkness rather than light, more pollution and a significant rise in global warming.
More evil than good, more Ravan than Ram, more hinsa and asatya than Lord Mahavir and more ignorance than Guru Hargobind Ji.
Today, it is celebrated by us as the “Festival of Darkness".
Do you know what educated Indians think about using fire cracker (Pataka) (especially during divali).
Here are some of their thoughts:
1. What kind of celebration is that when you disturb little children and elderly people, when you pollute the atmosphere, scare animals, dirty the street, and encourage an industry that we all know depends on child labour (it's very easy to make a sticker that says 'no child labour'). Our country is already noisy crowded and crazy with traffic and stress .. why on earth do these people want to add to that?
2. The Festival of Lights, diyas are lit to guide the goddess Lakshmi into the home. Surely all the crackers exploding like bombs must make her think they are trying to chase her away!
3. I guess it is like the person said about getting drunk at Christmas parties, a true Christian would not do that. And similarly, I suppose a true Hindu would not burst crackers on Diwali.
4. We can't stop people from doing this, but I hope we can educate and make people aware of the dangers and the "rudeness" of bursting crackers.
5. I really don't understand why people simply waste their money on crackers, which is even dangerous to life some times.Instead of that we can light the candles or 'deepam' in and out of our house and make this festival even more grand with less money.
6. In many schools, teacher's are asking their pupils to take oaths that they won't light crackers. This is really positive move that every one should follow.
Perhaps crackers are for people whose souls are so numb that they need this outlet to feel alive .,,, I almost feel sorry for them
During this festival (3 to 5 days), It has become a custom to enjoy Diwali through “Lighting Lamps” “Exchanging Sweets & Gifts” & "BURSTING FIRE CRACKERS".
First two are better way to enjoy, but what about the third one??
Are you aware what is the impact of bursting Fire crackers on the environment??

It affects environment in the following ways:
1. Air Pollution affecting health especially to diseased persons, aged people, children & pregnant women.
2. Water & land pollution will pollute our resources rivers, lakes.
3. Increased Noise levels can cause deafness/stress to many.
4. It takes several weeks to bring back normal air quality.
5. Fire hazards causing heavy damages to life and property.
6. Social nuisance leading to community disharmony.
7. According to the CPCB, 95 per cent of the crackers available in the market violate noise and air pollution norms.
8. Thanks to crackers, pollution levels of Delhi rose to 10 times the permissible limit on Diwali day 2002, when noise levels touched 140 decibels.
9. Release of Greenhouse Gases which results in global warming which is responsible for floods, hurricanes, melting of ice, extreme hot and cold weather, death of polar bears (they starve to death because ice caps in Arctic are melting), migration of people of Tuvalu (smallest country which is just 5 m above sea level), etc , etc..
The indicators of depleting environmental quality are harmful gases in the atmosphere, degradation of land, global warming, ozone depletion, loss of species and habitat and air and water pollution.
Are you aware what is the impact of bursting Fire crackers on the health??
It affects health in the following ways:
Highly polluting nature of these firecrackers lead to a plethora of diseases………
Can lead to...
Suspended Particulate Matter
Asthma, cancer, restrictive lung diseases, pneumoconiosis
Respirable Particulate Matter
Respiratory illness (chronic bronchitis and asthma), heart diseases
Sulpher Dioxide(SO2)
Eye burning, headache, respiratory problems like pulmonary emphysema, cancer, heart diseases
Nitrous Oxides
Lung irritation, chest tightness, viral infection, airway resistance
There is a 25% increas in asthma patients at OPD after Diwali. Air pollution rises 6-10 times adn the after-effects last for weeks, according to Dr. Pramod V Niphadkar of St. George Hospital.
Most disturbing is the increse of heavy metals in the atmosphere. Studies show that he heavy metals remain in the atmosphere for long and then get oxidised before entering the food chain through vegetables and fish.
The level of suspended particles in the air increases alarmingly during Diwali, causing eye, throat and nose problems. Although most of us do not feel the immediate impact, these problems can later develop into serious health hazards, according to Dr Rajesh Chawla of Apollo hospital, New Delhi.
Suspended particulate matter (SPM) exposure to the level of 100 ppm results in headache and reduced mental acuity. The effects are more pronounced in people with heart, lung or central nervous system diseases. Sulphur dioxide is readily soluble and dissolves in the larger airways of the respiratory system. This stimulates a contraction at 2 to 5 parts per million (ppm). At higher concentrations severe contraction restricts the breathing process.
Nitrogen dioxide is less soluble and so penetrates to the smaller airways and into the lungs. They destroy the linings of the respiratory surface, thereby reducing the intake of oxygen for the body. These cause respiratory allergies like asthma especially to the susceptible population.
Causes throat and chest congestion, and are likely to aggravate problems for those already suffering from coughs, colds and allergies.
High decibel level results in restlessness, anger, fidgetiness, impulsive behavior and over-reaction to situations. Most crackers used have more than 80 dB noise that can cause temporary hearing loss, says K Agarwal, chairman, Health Care Foundation, New Delhi
Scientific data to suggests that noise pollution can cause leads to hearing loss, high blood pressure, heart attack and sleep disturbances. Normal decibel level for humans is 60 dB. An increase by 10 decibels means double the noise volume and intensity, says Agarwal.
Normal decibel level for human beings is 60. An increase by 10 decibels means double the noise volume and intensity.
Children, pregnant women and those suffering from respiratory problems suffer the most due to excessive noise. It results in making them hyperactive or withdrawn, says Dr Jitendra Nagpal, psychiatrist, Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (VIMHAS), Delhi.
Allergic bronchitis, acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, ephysema, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases), allergic rhinitis, laryngitis, ssinusitis, pneumonia and common cold increase during this times, reports Dr Naarendra B Rawal, consultant chest physician and pulmonologist. The number of his patients doubles during Diwali. The firework is one of the provoking factors for childhood bronchial asthma, he adds.
The Toxics Link study pointed out that there is threat of exposure even from the unburnt material. These particles are very small (1 to 5 microns in size) and contain metals along with carbon.
Frightening, isn't it! Time we took a fresh look at the way we celebrate Diwali if we want to escape cancer, alzheimer's and other deadly diseases. The only way to do so is to educate the children who are tomorrow's adults. Let us not leave more carbon footprints than we need to.
Celebrate Diwali by all means but do it meaningfully. After all, we have to inhabit this planet for a long time and all of us would like our children to inherit a cleaner and safer planet.
Are you still not convinced that why you should not use fire crackers than this is for all animal and pets lovers.

Animals are fleeing in panic; some bump headlong into the next car hurting themselves severely. Others go and hide themselves trembling for fear. Others again grab objects thrown towards them with their mouth imagining they were toys, with the effect that they explode in their mouth; dogs die in the presence of their masters who remain shocked and dismayed ("Dog is killed by firework thugs")
The above description does not stem from a battlefield or an earthquake site: it is the vivid description of how animals experience fireworks.
For us human beings fireworks have become unbearably loud and have resulted to many thousands each year in inner-ear injuries and even in final hearing damage. Many animal species have an extremely sensitive ear and a cracker, therefore, impairs their hearing more than our human ear! Cats hear better than dogs and much better than human beings; they suffer from loud noises at least as much as a person with a heavy headache. A cat or a dog which is exposed to the bursting of a cracker can endure a long-lasting traume, even an irreversible ear damage. Fireworks lasting for hours are an acoustical torture for animals. Bunnies, guinea pigs, birds etc. are easily frightened and can suffer, as consequence of the loud noise, of a heart impact.
Fireworks can release heaviest health damage to animals up to shock conditions with death sequences.
Birds can lose orientation for quite some time because of the unexpected glare of fireworks rockets.
Animals which get too near to exploding fireworks become victims of burns and eye damage.
Some incidents:
  1. At least two dogs died and more than 15o were listed as runaways during the weekend's noisy celebrations of Diwali.
  2. A couple of days after Diwali’s fireworks displays, hundreds of birds were found dead on Beach. Finding so many dead birds in and near the ocean is so unusual that biologists believe the deaths were the result of the excessive amount of Diwali fireworks ignited this year. One speculation is that the noise of the blasts frightened the birds out to sea where they got tired, lost or confused, and then drowned. Another possibility is that the smoke drove them from their nighttime roosts and they died either from smoke inhalation or drowning when they became exhausted over the water.
  3. A warning has been issued by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to alert the public to the dangers of frightening guide dogs on firework night. It says: "Numerous guide dogs are so frightened by the noise they have to be sedated, which means they are unable to work for days at a time. Worse, some are even forced into early retirement because they become so nervous of any loud bangs or noises.”
  4. A woman, of Horse Rescue Centre, discovered one of the centre's mares lying in a ditch with a badly broken leg. It is thought she had fallen in the night before after being startled by fireworks set off in the area. A number of empty firework cartridge were found in the field where she fell. The vet had to shoot her because she was so badly injured. Her five-months-old foal was with the mare when she died. The foal is just traumatised.
  5. A dog has been killed after a firework exploded in a street. Residents believe the incident in happened when a gang of youths started throwing the fireworks. It was not clear whether the firework had been thrown directly at the dog, or it hat picked one up in its mouth before it exploded.
  6. About 12 horses took fright and broke out of their field after it's thought that fireworks were set off in the area. One of the horses (5) suffered serious chest injuries after colliding with a car, an other (who's in his 20s) will probably lose one eye.
  7. The miniature Doberman leapt out of a bedroom window and ran off after a 15ft fall. Owner says: "There were loads of fireworks being set off and he is terrified of them. I think he just panicked."
  8. Akhilesh still bears the scars after being attacked by his own German Shepherd dog in a city park when it was startled by children letting off fireworks.
  9. Twelve horses were loose in a pasture when likely bottle-rockets were launched near their barn, bouncing off the roof of the building. The horses were spooked and ran wildly through the pasture. One of the horses suffered an injury to its legs and two horses injured hooves. Tenants renting a house on the property discharged the fireworks.
  10. Levi, a dog, was so terrified by fireworks he chewed his way through the aluminium garage door, leaving a "massive pool of blood" behind him. The dog injured his paws and mouth in his desperate scramble to escape the fireworks near his home.
  11. A dog died while trying to escape from fireworks. He had been tied up in a backyard and became so terrified it tried to jump a fence, hanging itself in the process.
  12. Ringo, a seven-month-old puppy, has died after he was scared by fireworks set off by a group of youths and ran in front of a car.
  13. A family says the eruption from an exploding firework frightened their dog Jony so much she died of a heart attack. Jony was being taken for an evening walk when a loud explosion terrified the poor canine. The dog's owner managed to get the dog back to her house, where Jony (9) died of a heart attack.
  14. A farmer is demanding compensation after firework display killed one of his sheep and more than 20 unborn lambs. The loud noise of the fireworks display disturbed the sheep in the field next door and one fell into a pound and drowned. 20 ewes also lost their unborn lambs due to the firework display. The farmer was so distraught over the death of his sheep that he threw the carcass into a crowd of children and parents watching the display.
Harmful effects of Chemicals Used in Crackers:
· Copper: Poison to humans by ingestion. Inhalation of copper dust and fume causes irritation in the respiratory tract. Absorption of excess copper results in "Wilson's disease" in which excess copper is deposited in the brain, skin, liver, pancreas and myocardium (middle muscular layer in the heart).
· Cadmium: Can be poisonous to humans by inhalation, ingestion, intraperitonial, sub-cutaneous, intra-muscular and intravenous routes. Cadmium absorption can damage the kidneys and can cause anaemia. It is a potential human carcinogen. Cadmium causes increased blood pressure and also a disease called "Itai--Itai", which makes bones brittle resulting in multiple fractures.
· Lead: Affects the central nervous system in humans. A poison if ingested, moderately irritating. It can cause cancer of lungs and kidneys and an experimental teratogen. When heated it can emit highly toxic fumes. In inorganic form, it is a general metabolic poison and an enzyme inhibitor. Young children can suffer mental retardation and semi-permanent brain damage by exposure to lead. Incase of lead levels in blood, the disturbing feature is that the natural levels are very close to the lowest safety limits.
· Magnesium: Poison by ingestion, inhalation of magnesium dust and fumes can cause metal fume fever. Particles embedded in the skin can produce gaseous blebs and a gas gangrene. Dangerous fire hazard in the form of dust or flakes when exposed to flames. Manganese in the air has adverse effects on humans. Poisoning takes the form of progressive deterioration in the central nervous system.
· Manganese: An experimental carcinogen and mutagen. Human toxicity caused by dust or fumes. The main symptoms of exposure are languor, sleepiness, weakness, emotional disturbances, spastic gait and paralysis.
· Potassium: Dangerous fire hazard. If there is any confinement, an explosion can occur.
· Sodium: In elemental form, it is highly reactive, particularly with moisture with which it reacts violently and therefore can attack living tissue. When heated in air, it emits toxic fumes of sodium oxide. Dangerous fire hazard when exposed to heat and moisture.
· Zinc: Human skin irritant and effects pulmonary system. Pure zinc powder is non-toxic to humans by inhalation but difficulty arises from oxidation (burning), as it emits zinc fumes. Zinc is perhaps the least toxic of all heavy metals, in fact an essential element in animal and human nutrition, still they become toxic when absorbed in excess. Zinc stimulates the sensation of vomiting. An exposure to 150 mg of zinc can stimulate the process of vomiting in an adult male.
· Nitrate: Large amounts taken by mouth can have serious and even fatal effects. The symptoms are dizziness, abdominal cramps, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, weakness, convulsions and collapse. Small repeated doses may lead to weakness, general depression, headache and mental impairment. Also there is some implication of increased cancer incidents among those exposed. Highly inflammable and on decomposition they emit highly toxic fumes.
· Nitrite: Large amounts taken by mouth may produce nausea, vomiting, cyanosis, collapse and coma. Repeated small doses can cause a fall in blood pressure, rapid pulse, headaches and visual disturbances. When heated, emit highly toxic fumes of NOx.
· Phosphorous in PO4: Poison to humans. Dangerous fire hazard when exposed to heat or chemical reaction. Poison by inhalation, ingestion, skin contact and subcutaneous routes. Ingestion affects the central nervous system. Toxic quantities have an acute effect on the liver and can cause severe eye damage.
· Sulphur in SO4: Poison to humans by inhalation an eye, skin and mucous membrane irritant and corrosive, an experimental carcinogen. It chiefly affects the upper respiratory tract and the bronchi. It may cause edema of the lungs or glottis, and can produce respiratory paralysis.
Now if this is about the children & adults who play with firecrackers.
What about the 1000s of children who make them?
Here are some facts:
We are not doing justice to children of age group 6 to 14 years who manufacture these crackers who are the victims of this profession, will suffer from skin & respiratory disorders with shorter span of life.
Sivakasi in Tamilnadu produces more than 90% of firecrackers in India. More than 100 thousand children aged 3-14 work there 12-16 hrs a day for a meager Rs.10-15.
The corrosive gunpowder mixture with which they work eats away their tender skins first and their flesh later
So bear in mind that when we spend 100s of rupees on these polluting crackers we are also encouraging those who employ these little children & helping the 750 crore fireworks industry flourish!
In the process we are also denying these vulnerable children, their basic rights to read, write and play.
In the name of all those poor children who sacrifice their joy and even life please stop using firecrackers. And let the Diwali drive away our darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge…………
When we use these crackers we are also violating the directives of The Supreme Court in Sep 2001 regarding firecrackers.
In New Delhi during previous years Diwali, many of the school children took oath not to burst crackers.
The money you spend senselessly for buying firecracker, you can donate them for some social cuase, to poor children who don’t have money even to buy food for themselves.
In fact in 2005, 2006 & 2007 we got a very good response to this cause & found so many wise citizens in & around Bangalore not bursting crackers during this festival.
Please forward this message to atleast 10 of your friends & make them aware of not to burst crackers atleast from now onwards considering its ill effects on environment.
Being responsible citizens: Join hands with any environmental groups to prevent from bursting crackers in the city and celebrate "HAPPY DIWALI WITHOUT CRAKERS". Don’t ever purchase crackers which amounts to environmental degradation like air, water, land & ground water pollution. Causes health hazards, inconvenience to asthma patients, infants, pregnant women and senior citizens.
It is concerning to note that some environmental groups & government agencies are simply taking precautions for safe bursting of crackers, rather than its prevention. Are they aware of the real damage to environment even if used in safest ways?
By not purchasing crackers, we are doing humane service to society.
Do you know that many companies opting for ISO 14001 Certification are struggling to dispose small quantities of Hazardous wastes, by having material Safety Data Sheets?
Whereas the amount of hazardous chemicals out of these crackers is alarming! recklessly dumping the hazardous chemicals, without any control, creating environmental havoc.
Who is responsible for control & safe disposal of all these hazardous wastes from these crackers?
Is it the Government, NGO, Corporate community, or Citizens in general?
• Children, stop using firecrackers…instead demand your parents to buy toys, gifts, dress, & books in place of crackers.
• Parents & teachers, urge your children/pupil not to use it...
• Employers, Discourage your staff from using firecrackers by any means more importantly stop distributing crackers in the form of festival gifts.
• Television & other media, Don’t allow them to advertise on fire cracker’s, rather bring awareness in support of preventing cracker usage.
• Government, Discourage the sale, distribution & usage of Firecrackers.
• Common man... Use your common sense not to burst fire crackers and work towards sustenance of Mother Nature.
• Environmentalists & NGO’s. Kindly unite & work towards a common goal “reducing all sorts of pollution due to manufacture, sale, distribution & bursting of crackers during these diwali days.”
We definately don't want all this to happen with you. So stay away from fire crackers.
----------------------ISSUED IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST-----------------------
Forward this message & protect your city from pollution.
Love, Light and Truth
Harshad Gupta

No comments: