Diwali, the festival of lights, is known for its colourful rangolis, rows of diyas and lamps, and an assortment of sweets. However, in recent years, many people are more excited about all the firecrackers than anything else.
Despite all the show they put in, firecrackers are neither safe to use nor good for your health. In fact, in urban areas with already high baseline pollution levels, Diwali proves to be a catastrophe when it comes to health. Healthcare experts constantly warn the public about the harmful effects of fireworks and recommend that we don’t burst any for a safer Diwali.
Recently, many state governments in India have announced restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks before and on Diwali day. While this may disappoint some of you, here are the many harmful effects of bursting crackers that you would be avoiding as a result:
1. Air pollution
Air pollution is one of the major side effects of firecrackers. Studies show that air pollution due to the burning of firecrackers around Diwali is a serious concern for policymakers as the PM10 levels
increase several folds during this time. PM (particulate matter)10 consists of very fine particles found in dust and is one of the most common pollutants in the air. These particles can get into your lungs and cause runny nose, cough and stinging eyes. For those with lung or heart conditions, PM10 can cause breathing problems, wheezing and tightness in the chest.
Additionally, air pollution due to firecrackers can worsen the symptoms of asthma, COPD and lead to respiratory infections and premature deaths.
2. Noise pollution
Experts suggest that some of the Diwali crackers are louder than the safe permissible levels of sound for human ears. Loud noises can lead to conditions like tinnitus, hearing loss, restlessness, high blood pressure and sleep disturbances.
3. Accidental fires and burns
Accidental fires are most common in India around Diwali as per an old report by Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. The report suggests that during Diwali, firecracker burns and injuries almost occur in epidemic proportions. Not just the general public but firework accidents are reported to be very common in the firecracker industry.
Firecracker injuries most commonly affect the eyes, hands, face, head and fingers and while burns are the most common injuries, firecrackers can also cause lacerations, tissue damage and sometimes fractures.
The injuries are most commonly associated with sparklers, aerial crackers and fountains (anar).
It is best to avoid firecrackers altogether or opt for green crackers. These have lower sound and air pollution than your normal crackers and are hence said to be comparatively safer. Nonetheless, you should always be careful while bursting firecrackers. Here are some ways you can make Diwali a bit safer:
- Do not let children play with firecrackers.
- If a cracker won’t light, soak it in water and throw it away safely. Do not try to light it again.
- Make sure to keep yourself at a safe distance from the cracker while lightening them.
- Always keep water around in case of an accidental fire.
- Ensure that there is nothing inflammable near the crackers, including wood, saw dust, cloth etc.
- Contact a doctor immediately in case of an injury. Do not try to treat it at home especially if it’s a severe burn or an injury to the eye or ear.
For more information, read our article on First aid for burns.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.