Festivals are becoming significant contributors to air pollution in India. We have so many festivals and increasing commercialization – a growing economy is turning every celebration into grand occasions to splurge. Are we aware of what this is doing to our environment? Here’s a look at how all those festivities affect the air quality.
Air pollution levels in big cities are appalling at the best of times and are a growing cause for concern. The Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) – dust, fumes, smoke, and gases – is way above permissible limits in many of our big cities. This level sees a quantum jump during festivals, the main culprits being crackers, inflammable substances, and artificial colors.
Air pollution during Diwali
Studies by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) around Delhi conclude that this year, RSPM levels during Diwali doubled compared to 2006. A Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) study last year showed a 6-10% percent increase in air pollution during Diwali.
Clearly environmental groups and eco-clubs are fighting a losing battle. They come up with awareness campaigns and slogans like “Diwali is a festival of lights, not crackers”, “celebrate an eco-sensitive Diwali this year”, but nobody seems to take notice. Apart from the noise, crackers release a lot of toxic gases like Sulfur dioxide and Nitrogen dioxide which can lead to many health problems.
Impact of air pollution on health
Air pollution can lead to lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and allergies in adults. It can also cause acute respiratory infections in children.
Suspended particulate matter can cause asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory disease
Can bringing in laws make festivals environment sensitive? Do you think more awareness programs will curb festival extravagance?
Sulfur dioxide can damage lungs and lead to lung disorders like wheezing and shortness of breath.
Oxides of Nitrogen can cause skin problems, eye irritation, and cause respiratory problems in children.
Chemicals used in crackers like lead, magnesium, cadmium, nitrate, sodium, and others can have various harmful effects.