“Diwali is a festival of lights” – Probably, this is a century old proverb about Diwali festival. But with the passage of time, we are forgeting the real essence of Diwali celebration. Once upon a time, Diwali celebrations were sacred. The whole festival was sanctified with the lighting of Diyas & candles, making sweets & Rangolis, gifting our near & dear ones and what not! Nowadays, Diwali is mostly known for bursting noisy & polluted firecrackers and selling of adulterated sweets. It goes without mention that you have to be heedful about possible health hazards which can happen this Diwali festival.
Hazards of burning firecrackers
In the earlier days, a few sparkles were enough to celebrate Diwali festival. But now it has grown into an enormous number of crazy and dangerous firecrackers. All these firecrackers are loaded with hazardous chemicals to produce a lot of noise, sound and light.
Burning firecrackers after effects can cause dire consequences to health. Some of the significant health hazards of bursting crackers are:
Bursting of firecrackers produces a high decibel noise. The decibel meter goes way higher than the normal healthy range of 65db. People with high blood pressure and hypertension may have a tough time coping with this loud noise.
Sudden exposure to high noise could lead to a rise in blood pressure, cardiac arrest, deafness, sleeping disorder and sometimes leading to death. Firecrackers produce several harmful chemicals, and one of them is Lead. Lead can affect the nervous system and can be quite hazardous.
Some common harmful chemicals which come out after you burn firecrackers are Sulfur dioxide, Cadmium, Copper and Magnesium. All these chemicals can cause shortness of breath, wheezing and respiratory tract irritation.
You can imagine what would happen with someone who is already Asthmatic! In the past, several cases were registered where a prolonged exposure of these chemicals have even induced asthma and bronchitis in a healthy human being.
Last year, i.e. in 2016, Delhi air quality took a severe toll, and the pollutants rose to 42 times the standard limit. The particular matter (PM) level was recorded at PM2.5 of 999. India pollution control board has set the safe limit of PM2.5 (2.5 micrometres) at 60.
— Ravi Choudhary (@choudharyview) October 31, 2016
PM2.5 particles are one of the most harmful kinds of air pollutants because of their fineness nature. They make an accessible path to your lungs and raid your whole body including your bloodstream.
Even a short-term exposure can trigger severe coughing and irritation in eyes. Long-term exposure can also lead to reduced lung function and sometimes lung cancer.
Every year, hundreds of people suffer burn injuries due to the bursting of firecrackers. Sometimes, the burns are so severe that it causes vision loss, blisters and charred skin. Crackers burn can also cause second and third-degree burns, which can be fatal.
We just saw many harmful chemicals which come out when you burst firecrackers. All these substances can also cause several skin allergies and dryness.
Health risks associated with the consumption of adulterated sweets
Diwali is incomplete without mouthwatering sweets and desserts. But with the growing demand of sweets, people have started using adulterated milk & sugar in the preparation of sweets and desserts. Every Diwali, the food department raids a lot of these shops across the country to curb adulteration. But still, adulterated sweets are in abundance.
It is quite difficult to make out whether the sweet is hygienic or not. These contaminated sweets precisely match the look and taste of authentic sweets. Also, harmful and cheap food colours are used to improvise the look and in turn maximise the profitability.
Consumption of adulterated sweets can lead to food poisoning, diarrhoea and stomach infection.
How can you make sure to have a joyous and a healthy Diwali this year?
- Do not burn firecrackers at all. Maximize the use of wax scented candles and Diyas. They can lift your mood and create a mystic environment.
- For those who cannot resist burning firecrackers, burn minimum firecrackers which produce less smoke. Also, practice safety while bursting crackers. Keep a safe distance from burning firecrackers. Even if a firecracker misfires, do not re-engage with it at any cost.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby where you burn firecrackers.
- Keep a list of hospitals and doctors ready in case of emergency.
- Do not wear loose clothes while engaging in activity with crackers or fire.
- Do not accept or give gifts in the form of sweets. The best alternative could be homemade sweets, dry fruits and fresh fruits.
Diwali is a festival of joy and happiness. Do not make it an incident which you may have to repent throughout your life. Play card games this Diwali and enjoys with your friends and family.
Let me know if you think of any other health hazard of Diwali in the comment section below. Meanwhile a happy Diwali to Stemjar readers.