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Green and Safe Diwali

Diwali is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India (and abroad). It falls on the darkest night of the year. The tradition of lighting lamps on this night may have come from the need for light on this intensely dark night.

Impacts of the festival of Diwali:

1. Firecrackers and Air Pollution
Firecrackers are the fun of Diwali! These aesthetic forms of light seem so appropriate when celebrating the 'Festival of Lights'! But in our increasingly polluted cities, the temporary joy of watching the firecrackers is soon replaced by the intense air pollution caused by these. The toxic substances used in the firecrackers release toxic gases that are harmful to the health of all living beings. With winters approaching, the smog caused by firecrackers may be harmful to inhale and can cause difficulty for drivers because of reduced visibility.

2. Noise Pollution
The high level of noise generated by the crackers also cause immense sufferring to birds and animals and are dreaded by the sick and the ailing. Noise pollution leads to hearing loss, high blood pressure, heart attack and sleeping disturbances. The noise from firecrackers has a more deleterious effect on animals who have a more sensitive sense of hearing than humans. Pets such as dogs and cats, as well as stray cattle in and around cities are most affected.

3. Child Exploitation
Besides few of us realise that the firecrackers are made by very young children using child labour. Since the substances being handled are extremely toxic many of these children get sick and die in their early teenage years.

4. Energy Consumption
The festival of lights puts a considerably heavy load on electrical energy sources that are already overloaded. The use of electric lights to adorn homes, business establishments, monuments and roads for long hours requires a huge amount of electricity. The older tradition of burning earthen lamps or diyas is a possible alternative to electric lights - even though it does use oil, the duration of the lamps is shorter.

Legal steps taken by Government of India:

  • The Supreme Court of India, observing that the "right to peaceful sleep" is a fundamental right of the citizens, has banned crackers between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am during the Dasara and Diwali festival.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board has banned fire-crackers with a decibel level of more than 125 at a distance of 4 meters from the bursting point.

How to celebrate eco-sensitive diwali?

  • Share food, sweets and clothes with the lesser privileged.
  • Donate for relief operations in Karnataka.
  • Instead of individual celebration prefer community celebration in a open ground.
  • Instead of electric illumination for long hours go for traditional lightening of earthen lamps or diyas.
  • Reduce the amount of things we use.
  • Reuse the things we have in different forms until we have absolutely no use for them
  • Recycle items that are no longer functional.
  • Rethink the choices we make when deciding to buy something
  • Refuse things that we do not need at all.

How did you celebrate your diwali this year?
Green Diwali 2009Send us your stories and supporting pictures of Green-Diwali-2009 by 27-October on green-diwali[@]pledgeforgreen.com and win upto 5 t-shirts for your community from Scopial.

If you live in apartment communities in Bangalore, Delhi-NCR; you can also upload your pictures to your apartment gallery on www.commonfloor.com

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