It is that time of the year again… where ears and head hurt from non-stop noise, eyes itch from pollution, a persistent cough catches, animals cower in corners, fortunes are won and lost over cards.
Since 1995 I’ve witnessed how Diwali celebrations have evolved – 1st in Delhi and now in Mumbai for the last decade.
It is heartening to see the growing awareness around the environmental hazards, dangerous child labour practices and a movement towards ‘new ways’ to celebrate the Festival of Lights with less noise, pollution and waste.
Here is one of the many video’s circulating in an effort to promote a ‘Green’ Diwali.
And another that starts with a slow sweet evolution from a simple celebration to skyscraper excesses, interspersed by a snippet on the dangers children making firecrackers face, returning to a desire for a different kind of Diwali. Worth the 6+ mins to watch.
I don’t even want to know how bad the pollution gets – living in Mumbai is already like smoking a couple packs of cigarettes a day without a single deliberate drag!
Just how bad is it?
“Pollutants like particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide level rise 10 to 13 times on the day of the festival,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, the executive director of the Centre of Science and Environment.
“It takes close to a couple of weeks for the air pollution levels to get back to normal. This is the worst day for people suffering from asthma. Also, studies have shown that infants develop breathing disorders following the rise in air pollution levels on Diwali.” (Scroll’s “Five ways to celebrate a green Diwali“)
So here again is my Diwali wish – may you celebrate this Diwali with peace, light and joy with family and friends, avoiding excesses of all kinds, patakars and pollutants.