Noida, 20 October 2014: In our consciousness, Diwali is almost synonymous with firecrackers. Think Diwali and the sound of explosions and their glistening light is the first thing that comes to mind. But, with the fun that they offer, Diwali firecrackers also bring air and noise pollution, and occasionally some hazardous effects.
As we celebrate Diwali this year, it is important to raise consciousness among the people regarding safe and environment friendly celebrations to make the festival a happy and safe affair for one and all.
Often during and after Diwali, doctors see an increase in patients having asthmatic attacks due to the congestion in the air. The high decibel noise caused by hundreds of firecrackers also causes unease in heart patients and those who have hypertension. Besides, the most notorious effect of crackers is burn injuries that occur due to accidents or lack of safe practices.
The crackers can also be a cause of hearing impairment, high blood pressure, sleeping disturbances and sudden exposure to loud noise can cause temporary or permanent deafness or even result in heart attacks. In extreme case, some people may experience nausea and temporary delirious state of mind.
Fireworks can cause air, noise and land pollution which entails serious threat on the health of senior citizens, children, infants, adult and asthmatics. The harmful gasses that are released in the environment when mixed with carbon monoxide from traffic pollution and early winter fog can be extremely harmful for asthma patients. Asthmatic patients are prone to have asthma attacks during this festival.
Suspended particulate matter (SPM) can lead to serious headaches and abridged mental perspicacity. The after-effects are more severe for people suffering from heart, lung or central nervous system diseases and can cause restrictive lung disease, and pneumoconiosis.
“Apart from burn accidents that happen inevitably during Diwali, there are other health aspects that need to be highlighted ahead of the festival. People with disease of the respiratory system are the hardest hit as there is hardly any escape for them from the congested air. Sulphur dioxide can cause contractions in the respiratory system. Other pollutants can also cause burning in the eye, headaches, and other respiratory problems like pulmonary emphysema. Cardiac patients are at a risk too because loud explosions can be harmful to them. All these issues should be taken into account while celebrating Diwali,” says Dr.Gyanendra Agrawal, Consultant, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, Jaypee Hospital.
Firecrackers causes chest and throat blockage and is likely to worsen problems for those already suffering from coughs, colds and respiratory allergies. The harmful after-affects may include acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma, eye infections, allergic bronchitis, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases), allergic rhinitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, pneumonia and the number of patients of common cold also increases during Diwali.
The crackers are one of the aggravating factors for childhood bronchial asthma and there is threat of exposure even if these fireworks are not burnt. These particles are very small (1 to 5 microns in size) and contain metals along with carbon has disastrous after effects.
“The crackers produces huge amount of sound pollution that have high decibel levels. They may interfere with the normal functioning of the brain and may result in restlessness, impulsive behavior, anger, fidgetiness and over-reaction to situations. Children, pregnant women, heart patients and those suffering from respiratory problems suffer the most due to the excessive noise,” says Dr. Agrawal.
There are repercussions for skin too. The air pollution created by harmful chemicals and gases can cause extreme dryness and skin allergies.
As much as we love to celebrate Diwali, we must pay attention to the health concerns of the society, especially if we live in populated neighborhoods where the elderly, little children, pregnant women or patients of respiratory or heart diseases may be living.
It is advisable to:
- Limit use of firecrackers and abstain from using loud explosives.
- Wear face masks to prevent inhaling the poisonous mix of gases.
- Wear ear plugs if you are a cardiac or hypertension patient to minimize the impact of high decibel explosions.
- Never leave the firecrackers half burnt; better douse them in water before disposing
- Follow extreme care and always burn crackers in an open area
About Jaypee Hospital
The Jaypee Hospital, Noida – a 1200 bedded tertiary care multi-super-specialty facility and the flagship hospital of the Jaypee Group is shortly getting commissioned with 525 beds in the first phase. It has been built across a sprawling twenty-five acre campus, which is easily accessible from Delhi, Noida and the Yamuna Expressway; and its plan, design and construction of this hospital would position it amongst very few LEED certified hospital buildings in India.