She further added that as a mother, the best gift that she can give her children is a smoke-free, breathe-easy Diwali. “I am happy to see that most of the people in my circle believe the same. It is time we learn with our kids, how to celebrate our festivals the right way,” said Hema.
Dr Arvind Kumar of Lung Care Foundation and Doctors for Clean Air said that in our zeal to celebrate a festival, we must not take our lungs for granted. “Bursting of firecrackers leads to a substantial increase in PM 2.5 levels. It is a very serious health hazard, not just for humans, but even for animals and birds. We simply cannot afford to lose our guard, now that the country is reeling under the onslaught of COVID-19, which doesn’t have a cure or a vaccine yet,” he said adding that air pollution can increase the chances of COVID deaths.
Sumaira Abdulali, Convenor of Mumbai based Awaaz Foundation said that several crackers tested this year in Mumbai, which are also commonly sold across India contain toxic chemicals like Sulphur, Potassium, Barium that are listed under the Hazardous Chemicals Rules. “The smoke released when these firecrackers are burst contains these chemicals and these toxic chemicals can independently cause serious adverse health impacts, especially on respiratory health and worsen the effects of other respiratory diseases like Covid 19,” she said.