Millennium Post

Air pollution’s Capital connect

Diwali celebrations, for their festive cheer, have a flipside. They cause an enormous amount of pollution, both in noise levels and air quality, which show a ritual rise and dip respectively, coinciding with the jubilations. Indiscriminate use of crackers keeps the denizens of the national capital from becoming model citizens who, aware of the price of going ahead with the bursting, stop short of indulging in such fleeting pleasures. If the latest report released by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) in any indication, the concentration of poisonous gases had risen sharply on Diwali evening. While it’s true that Diwali tradition asks for lighting of diyas, bursting of crackers is a singularly ironical addition, perhaps a throwback on Guy Fawkes night that often coincides with the Indian festival. Since those of us in India can do without the aftermath of the ill-fated gunpowder plot, we can equally do away with the cracker business as well, given that it is mostly children who are deployed to manufacture these toxic items in factories that have appalling working conditions.

Nevertheless, what must be remembered is that environmental degradation cannot be a byproduct of any festivity, no matter how integral to our culture. We need to be vigilant and actively promote awareness to curb the use of these crackers during Diwali or other festivals, such as Dusshera. The alarming levels at which the concentration of the poisonous gases reach during Diwali are not only a bad news for the residents of the national capital, but also for its flora and fauna, with birds and animals particularly affected by the noise nad air pollution. Obviously, gases such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen dioxide are not just harmful for us humans, they equally potent in derailing the delicate ecological balance beyond the tolerable limits. Similarly, noise levels, that go up sharply on Diwali nights, have caused the near extinction of several local species of birds and smaller animals. The denizens of Delhi have an obligation to see to it that pollution and environmental degradation do not mar a festive season.
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