Young World

Go green this Diwali

Light and laughter : An enjoyable time. Photo : K.V. Poornachandra Kumar

Light and laughter : An enjoyable time. Photo : K.V. Poornachandra Kumar  

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With the Festival of Lights round the corner there is promise of fun and laughter. But in the midst of all that, do keep in mind the fragile state of the earth and also those less privileged than yourself.Traditionally, diwali was celebrated by lighting earthen lamps signifying the triumph of good over evil.

The very mention of Diwali fills our mind with images of a night sky colourfully lit, an equally colourful variety of sweets, new clothes and not to forget the programmes on TV.

Be it marking the return of Lord Rama from a 14-year exile in the forest after defeating Ravana, or cheering the killing of the demon Narkasura by Krishna, everybody's favourite 'Festival of Lights' has grown beyond its purpose to become a time for getting together with loved ones and celebrating happiness.

Get smart

Traditionally, Diwali was celebrated by lighting earthen lamps in houses signifying the triumph of good over evil by dispelling darkness with light, exchanging sweets and wishes, followed or preceded by Lakshmi pooja. It also involved, and it very much does today as well, waking up before the crack of dawn, having an oil bath and wearing new clothes. This ritual is followed by the much awaited bursting of firecrackers.

But with all the talk about saving the environment and going the eco-friendly way, Diwali can't be left behind. Firecrackers are obvious contributors to noise and dust pollution, emitting hazardous chemicals. So why not think of ways to celebrate a green Diwali? Some suggestions would be to take to tradition and light clay lamps, maybe those bought from NGOs, with cotton wick and oil in our homes. Instead of bursting firecrackers try meeting up with friends and cousins, even the long-lost ones, exchanging sweets and inviting people over for lunch or dinner. You could also bring a smile and cheer to those less privileged by visiting orphanages or homes for the underprivileged and spending quality time with them.

So, think about this and have a fun, safe and green Diwali!

Buying

Buy fireworks only from authorised manufacturers.

Check the box for declaration of no involvement of child labour.

For the green ones, do check out if your local market has stocked up on the latest green innovation - Eco Friendly Crackers.

Talking of noise, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has banned the production of firecrackers with noise levels over 125 decibels, so watch what you are buying.

Pollution

The chemicals used in the fireworks like copper, cadmium, lead, magnesium, sodium, zinc, nitrate and nitrite may cause health and environmental hazards.

Even the smoke from lighting these fireworks may affect a person, especially those with respiratory problems.

The excessive exposure to the noise generated could lead to stress, high blood pressure and sleep disturbances.

The paper and other wastes from these crackers and their packing, contribute to the litter in the neighbourhood.

The noise also causes extreme stress and fear in animals.

Safety tips

Always keep a first aid box and a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of emergencies.

Make sure you wear footwear when bursting crackers.

Always light them outdoors.

Avoid lighting fireworks like rockets when it is windy.

Watch what you are wearing. Avoid wearing loose clothes, and be careful when sporting scarves and dupattas.

Never bend over the firecracker while lighting it.

Always have an adult around to supervise.

Store firecrackers properly and away from the area where you are lighting them.

Also keep in mind that the government does not allow you to burst crackers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Avoid doing so near hospitals and other noise-free zones.

Dispose used fireworks properly by either putting them in a bucket of water or sand.

Keep pets indoors during Diwali.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 9:57:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/kids/Go-green-this-Diwali/article16886185.ece

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