Diwali or Deepawali is known as the ‘Festival of Lights and is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India. Festival of Lights is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya along with Devi Sita and brother Lakshman after 14 years of exile (vanvaas)
Diwali or Deepawali essentially means the Awareness of the Inner Light. In a way, it is the celebration of the awakening and awareness of the Inner Light which has the power to outshine the darkness.
On this day, people decorate their home with diyas, rangolis and decorative lights, wear new clothes, exchange sweets and gifts with each other, burn crackers and in the evening perform, Lakshmi Pujan. Deepawali is celebrated exactly after ten days of Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami.
Burning firecrackers causes health hazards because of the air pollution caused by the smoke of firecrackers. Pollution is a big issue of the present-day world and has many bad effects on the environment. So, all we can do is increase self-awareness and try to find more eco-friendly ways to celebrate our festivals.
Let’s celebrate Deepawali with lights and diyas and return to our traditional ways to celebrate the auspicious day.
Diwali 2021: Here is how to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali
1. Save electricity consumption:
The energy used in normal electronic lights is wasted a lot instead of this use the traditional way to celebrate the festival and light days and candles which are the better replacement of it. Decorate our houses with flowers, LED lamps, LED lights and rangolis.
2. Use fewer firecrackers:
Diwali without crackers is a no go for many especially children. Since we also have to consider the air and noise pollution caused by the firecrackers. One way to resolve this problem is celebrating Deepawali together as a community that way, everyone gets to burst crackers, but fewer crackers.
3. Reduce plastic use:
During the Deepawali celebration, one thing that gets everyone excited about is Diwali shopping! However, shopping means a lot of plastic bags. Let’s say ‘No’ to plastic shopping bags and use cloth bags when going out shopping.
4. Organic Rangoli Colours:
Rangolis are a huge part of Diwali celebrations. Pretty and colourful designs make our houses look beautiful, but synthetic colours are dangerous for the environment and unhealthy when inhaled and cause serious health issues.
Lest opt for rangolis that can be made using flowers, or use eco-friendly colours that do not cause harm to our surroundings. Organic rangoli colours are available in the markets easily.
Diwali is a festival of joy, light and splendour. It’s in our hands to celebrate it in a safe and greenway.
- The poisonous chemical mix discharged from fire crackers affect people with asthma and other respiratory disorders and persons who have multiple chemicals sensitivity.
- Studies have shown that fire crackers have significant amount of heavy metals such as lead and cadmium and their fumes contain oxides of sulphur, phosphorous, nitrogen and carbon, which are highly harmful.
- The oxides from the chemicals discharged from burning fire crackers, come into contact with moisture while passing from nostrils to the lungs and form acids, which damage the body.
- Firecracker injuries occur due to the pressure wave created because of explosion which causes severe injuries around the eyes, eye lids and cornea.
- Firecrackers during Diwali can act as a source of irritation and prolonged exposure may aggravate certain psychiatric conditions as well.
Tips for a safe Diwali
- Earthen lamps and candles should be placed safely away from any flammable material like wood, cloth or paper and electric wires.
- Electric lights should never be tied to any metal poles as any leakage of current can energise the pole and give an electric shock to anyone who touches it.
- Don’t burn firecrackers inside the house as this will have a dangerous impact on allergy and asthma patients.
- Never try to re-ignite the fireworks that don’t light in the first instance.
- Only one person at a time should be allowed to light a firecracker. Avoid bursting crackers on terrace and park vehicles at safe place in case of bursting crackers on road.
- Children should never be left alone and everyone should use a long candle to light crackers.
- Purchase firecrackers from authorised dealers and keep them away from children.
- When lighting fire crackers, wear close-fitting thick cotton clothes instead of loose fitting synthetic clothing and ensure that you keep a bucket of water nearby while lighting fire crackers.
- Do not get exposed to direct smoke, as it may lead to choking effect. Stay away and cover nose and mouth.
- Preferable to stay indoors with windows and doors closed. Use an air conditioner or air purifier with a good filter during the heaviest fire works celebrations.
- Wear a paper or gauze mask to decrease smoke inhalation unless it interferes with regular breathing.
- Wash your eyes, nose, mouth, hands with warm water after exposure to firecrackers.
- Keep your medication within reach.
- Always desirable to seek medical advice at the earliest, in the first sign of breathlessness or severe non-retracting cough.
- Immediate first aid for eyes is to wash eyes thoroughly with potable water for 25 minutes and in case of serious infection or injury, one should consult an eye specialist within an hour.
- Buckets filled with water should be kept nearby.
Tips for a green Diwali
- Avoid using electric lights to illuminate your home. Instead, opt for diyas (earthen lamps) and candles. This saves electricity.
- Limit usage of firecrackers that emit enormous smoke and sound.
- Dispose off waste properly after celebrations.
- Select eco-friendly gifts and decorating items.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) labs have been successful in developing various environment-friendly fireworks such as sound-emitting crackers, flowerpots, pencils, Thakkar and sparklers. These fireworks, based on new formulations developed by CSIR, have been manufactured and are available in the Indian market for consumers and sellers. Nearly 165 fireworks manufactures have been roped in and around 65 more manufacturers are in the process of coming on board.
Definition of Green crackers
Fireworks/firecracker made with a reduction in the size of shell, elimination of ash usage etc., reduced usage of raw materials in the compositions, of uniform acceptable quality, and/or use of additives as dust suppressants to reduce emissions with specific reference to particulate matter (PM*) ( SO2and NO2) leading to:
- a minimum of PM reduction of 30%
- a minimum of PM reduction of 20% and rest 10% of gaseous emission (mass of gases emitted based on composition) or more reduction of gaseous emission (mass of gases emitted based on composition)
- All of the above reduction shall be based on when compared with conventional composition for a given category of crackers/fireworks
New formulation fireworks/firecrackers
Fireworks/firecrackers having new and improved formulations (substitution and reduction of raw materials in composition) to reduce emissions with specific reference to particulate matter (PM*), SO2 and NO2 as :
- a minimum of PM reduction of 30 %
- a minimum of PM reduction of 20% and rest 10% of gaseous emission (mass of gases emitted based on composition)
- All of the above reduction shall be based on when compared with conventional composition for a given category of crackers/fireworks.
*metals are a subset of PM
To know the improved and new formulations and the manufacturers of green crackers, click here.
A green logo as well as a Quick Response (QR) coding system has been developed for the differentiation of green crackers from conventional crackers. QR codes are a novel feature incorporated on firecrackers to avoid the manufacture and sale of counterfeit products. This will also help the consumers to track the cracker using smartphones and other devices. The cost of the green crackers is almost the same as that of regular crackers.
A helpline has been created for any queries related to emission certificates, QR Codes and formulations. The helpline is available at +918617770964 and +919049598046, or, email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali Campaign
This is a campaign launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. As a part of the campaign, the Environment Ministry is undertaking various activities to create awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution. A Pledge for a Green and Healthy Diwali is also being widely circulated to the schools/colleges and other educational institutions and the school administration has been requested to administer the said Pledge during their school assembly up to Diwali.
Anti-Fire Crackers Campaign
This is a government initiative to discourage the use of firecrackers on the occasion of Diwali. Some of the activities taken up as part of this initiative are
- Schools are advised to sensitize children and staff about the harmful effects of fire crackers so that they use safer alternatives e.g. lights, flowers etc to celebrate the festivals.
- Heads of Schools are asked to personally address the school assembly in order to dissuade children from using fire crackers.
- Rallies are organised to sensitise public about the ill-effects of fire crackers
- Students, parents, Resident Welfare Associations take pledge to celebrate Diwali in an eco-friently manner