Cracker-free Diwali 2017

Hola!

It’s wonderful to connect with you yet again. India is the land of festivals and as India gears up for its biggest and most popular festival, we are delighted to bring to you a few points.

Cracker Free Diwali

Though lighting a bomb or ladi may seem exciting but hey we cant harm the people and our environment for our fun. Isn’t it? When these crackers are burst, the air gets charged with partially combusted low volatile organic compounds which remain suspended in the atmosphere for several days. This is deadly for not just asthmatics, but causes breathing difficulties in anyone, warn experts.So there a lot of campaigns by the young and old alike that favor burning fat and not crackers! Isn’t it amazing that children are acting as the influencers and convincing their family members against burning crackers.

World Environment Day: Connecting people to nature

Children are at the forefront of cracker-free diwali. BnBNation
Children are at the forefront of cracker-free diwali.
Source: PTI
Ill effects of air pollution

According to a report on global air quality by the Health Effects Institute, air pollution led to the deaths of an estimated 1.1 million people in India in 2015. Delhi, considered among India’s worst cities in terms of air quality, is on the front line in battling these harmful effects.

PM 2.5

The microscopic particles, which are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, are considered particularly harmful because they are small enough to lodge deep into the lungs and pass into other organs, causing serious health risks.

The World Health Organization considers a PM2.5 density above 25 micrograms per cubic meter within a 24-hour period as unsafe. In Delhi, an “emergency” level is anything above 300. In the previous years, the average level of PM 2.5 in Delhi was 130+.

Read our post on International Biodiversity day: Tips to promote Sustainable Tourism

In the following table we summarize the deadly effects and measures to fight higher PM 2.5 concentration.

PM 2.5 concentration (in Micrograms per cubic meter)

Category Additional Measures implemented in the past

91-120

Moderate to Poor

Enforce firework ban

121-250

Very poor

Advise respiratory/cardiac patients to avoid going outdoors

250+

Severe

Reduce operations of coal-based power plants

300+

Emergency

Odd even scheme

 

Factors that affect Pollution in Delhi

Though firecrackers aggravate pollution in Delhi but they are seasonal in nature. However, all year around there are various reasons that make Delhi’s air unfit for breathing. Let’s have a look at a few major factors that affect Delhi’s air.

Contribution of cars to pollution in Delhi

A research report by IIT Kharagpur has found that emission by Delhi’s 10 million vehicles contribute to 20% PM2.5 level annually.

This diwali, burn diyas to light up your day
This diwali, burn diyas to light up your day
Crop burning season

Delhi’s geography is such that it is surrounded by industrial hubs and agricultural hubs. An agricultural practice of burning the agricultural fields in order to prepare them for the next season of crops is practiced widely and illegally in these hubs. This means that Delhi gets a bulk of stubble burning pollution and since Delhi is not sea facing unlike Chennai or Mumbai, the pollution stays in the air for a longer period of time. According to a report, one ton of burning straw releases 3 kg of particulate matter (PM 10, PM 2.5) and 1460 kg of Carbon Dioxide.

Diwali 2016 versus Diwali 2017

Last year Diwali saw an alarming level of pollution (8x above the permissible levels)and a smog over Delhi for many days after Diwali. The situation was compared with Gas chambers as well.

The Government has taken a slew of measures this time that aim to avoid the repetition of previous year’s pollution levels.

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)- Instituted in December 2016, the main objective of GRAP is to institutionalize measures to tackle air pollution emergencies, giving a clear direction of steps to be taken by central and state authorities.

Diwali is not just one day of festivity but consist of a series of events.
Diwali is not just one day of festivity but consist of a series of events.

Build up to Diwali

Diwali celebrations are spread across a period of five days with each day having its own significance and traditional rituals that are followed. The celebrations kickstart with ‘Dhanteras’, the auspicious day on which people buy utensils, silver ware or gold.

It is believed that new “Dhan” or some form of precious metal bought on this auspicious day is a sign of good luck and prosperity. Choti Diwali follows next, which involves preparations for the Badi Diwali. People start decorating their houses with lights, and hold get-togethers. The next day is the Badi Diwali, the main festive day.

On this day, people perform laxmi puja, visit each other’s houses with sweets and gifts, burn fire crackers and spend time with their family and friends. The day after Diwali is celebrated as Govardhan Puja and finally the five-day celebration comes to an end with Bhai Dooj where sisters apply tilak on their brother’s forehead and siblings pray for each other’s well-being.

Read our previous blog on how to celebrate Dussehra with an Indian family: Celebrating Dussehra with a BnB Host

Summarizing Diwali events:

  • Dhanteras 2017: 17th October 2017
  • Choti Diwali 2017 : 18th October 2017
  • Diwali 2017: 19th October 2017
  • Govardhan Puja 2017: 20th October
  • Bhai Dooj 2017: 21st October

Thus, since India is the land of festivals, we can surely do without crackers, isn’t it?

Incredible India Bed and Breakfast scheme is the best way for a foreign traveler to explore Indian traditions and customs
Incredible India Bed and Breakfast scheme is the best way for a foreign traveler to explore Indian traditions and customs
Tips for Foreign travelers

If you are traveling to India during Diwali you must stay with an Indian family to experience the rich Indian traditions and customs followed during Diwali. Families conduct a puja and send a letter to God to request divine blessings.

Our last year’s blog will give you a fair idea on how to celebrate Diwali with an Indian family in an Indian home: Diwali the perfect time to be in India with a BnB host

Precautions to take:
  • Goes without saying, Do not burn crackers!
  • Stay indoors
  • Do not skip your medicines
  • Have loads of water as it cleanses the system
  • Carry / wear mask when you step out.

Sources of inspiration:

NDTV CNN Livemint

26 thoughts on “Cracker-free Diwali 2017”

  1. Hope you had a great and meaningful celebration of Diwali…
    It maybe difficult to achieve a cracker-free festival, but at least we can lessen it by starting the discipline within ourselves.

    1. Hi Ann, thanks for dropping by. Diwali is a beautiful indian festival and many travelers plan their trip to celebrate diwali in India. Cracker-free diwali was even more beautiful though the pollution levels in Delhi did reach non-permissible limits.

  2. Initially even I used to get all excited about bursting crackers for diwali but since last year I stopped bursting.We do light lamps and celebrate do the other festivities.I live in Delhi but I m a South Indian.We don’t have so many diwali,we just have one diwali day.Have you ever heard of this #poochoverpataka campaign ?

  3. Thank you for raising awareness about the pollution and giving recommendations to foreign travelers. I really appreciate the bloggers who do such things.
    When I have an opportunity, I write about these things myself. Let’s make the world a better place.

  4. Its wonderful see that people are becoming more and more aware of the environmental impact of bursting crackers. And it’s really great that you are helping further in spreading that awareness. This is exactly we also did this year – cracker free diwali, and we are going to do that year on year now.

  5. Great article and I am glad that people are also becoming aware of this. My son was so particular about cracker free Diwali. I think they are also being made aware in schools. In my apartment I definitely saw lesser crackers this year. Great post and happy Diwali bnbnation. Here’s to success !

    1. Hi Swati,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am glad that children have spearheaded this movement and it’s definitely gonna make Diwali more eco friendly and colourful in the coming years.

  6. I grew up with a father who liked lighting firecrackers. I was really afraid of them (and scared of them still), that I wished my father would stop buying them every new year. Anyway, it’s good that there is now an effort to make your Diwali celebration cracker free and that the children are participating. I do want to experience this festival and I hope I’d get to meet an Indian family who could host me someday.

    1. Hi Marge,
      I am glad you have experienced both the modes of celebration. I hope the Diwali gets more aerial with night shots rather than terrestrial to strike a fine balance between traditional and modern modes of celebration.
      It’s a good idea to celebrate this festival with an Indian family. You’d plan Diwali 2018 in India.

    1. Totally agree with you Swayam, there has to be a fine balance between traditional ways of celebrating and the new modes of celebrating. I love seeing the rockets and sky crackers… it lits up the sky beautifully doesn’t it?

  7. Interesting read! I wouldn’t imagine any celebrations being done without fire crackers in South Asia. I like the how they are considering the fact that fire crackers are causing pollution.

  8. Great article Ambuj and I admire the way you pick up important topics to spread awareness. People actually got aware this year than previous years and there was comparatively bursting of crackers in NCR esp Noida. So, overall less choking and less health problems.

    1. Thank you so much Suruchi.Your words are motivating! I am glad there were less crackers though the winters don’t seem to set in even after Diwali. Though I’m not complaining, just saying… haha

  9. Very different post to what I was expecting, really awesome of you to attract attention to such an important environmental issue. I’ll know to use crackers sparingly now☺️ Great read!

Your thoughts...