Why you should fire less or no crackers on Diwali?

Happy Diwali!

I know we all get excited for Diwali every year, it is one of the most important festivals for us. It is the festival of lights! Everyone from all age groups gets deeply involved in the celebration all across India and even all across the globe!

But let me tell you my side of the story.

My breathing issues get worse during Diwali. For most of my childhood, I use to go to my Dad’s hometown which is in the midst of Western Ghats but after getting into a corporate job I stayed back in the cities where I use to live. I have seen Diwali in major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad. I hated the air pollution, it always left me in worse conditions.

I stopped bursting crackers about 12 years back and I tried to escape out of the big cities to save myself.

I did observe that when I travel to our neighboring countries like Thailand, the Maldives, and Bhutan. I saw that the air pollution is less in these countries. In Bhutan, they almost have zero pollution!

In developed countries like the UK and the US, I thought the major cities have bad pollution, but when I went to London, I did not have any breathing issues, and when I roamed around New York for an entire day in the busy areas, and I did not have any breathing issues.

From these experiences, I started thinking that we are doing something terribly wrong with the air in India.

There are multiple factors for air pollution, the major contribution comes from the industries that use fossil fuels and another major factor is due to vehicles. We should innovate economically viable alternatives for these for sure as early as possible but today we can do something small which is possible — “Fire LESS or NO CRACKERS on this Diwali”

According to a New Lancet Study (2017), Air pollution is the highest contributor to pollution-related deaths and over 9,000,000 people die from air pollution every year in the World.

More than 2,500,000 people die in India alone due to air pollution.

Covid-19 has killed only about 5% of this number until today (13 Nov 2020) in India.

Air pollution is bigger than Covid-19.

I know there are some people out there who argue that the pollution from firing crackers is insignificant, which is true when compared to other major air-pollution sources but still it contributes to a major part of it. Just in Delhi, Diwali adds about 40 μg/m3 to PM 2.5 particulate concentration, this number is high considering that already the air quality is low. [Link to the study]

Let's start our journey towards a pollution-free world right now and let's start contributing our small bit to make the air quality better.

I believe if you have read this far, you would fire at least one less cracker this Diwali!

Happy Diwali!

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Abhilash Marichi

Abhilash Marichi

Data Engineer at Amazon. I write about Data, Product & Life.