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This festive season, take a pledge for a green & safe Diwali

Friday, 9 November 2012 - 1:07pm IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Speak Up brings you some tips to keep yourself safe and enjoy a happy Diwali...

A festival of lights, sweets, fun and joy, Diwali is eagerly awaited by everyone. However, to keep the true spirit of the festival alive, it is important to take some steps to ensure that we don’t harm the environment by creating noise and air pollution. Also, it is equally important to take some precautions to avoid any sort of injury. Speak Up brings you some tips to keep yourself safe and enjoy a happy Diwali...

Smoke inhalation can result in injury to respiratory tract

During the Diwali festival, most of the burn cases that we get are of children as they have a lesser body surface compared to adults. Hence, they are prone to complications even in case of small burns. Respiratory or lung complications in burn patients following smoke inhalation can result in injury to the respiratory tract due the chemicals used in firecrackers. 

As it is said ‘prevention is better than cure’, parents should be extra cautious when their children burst crackers during these festive days. The adults should always accompany the kids and make them burst crackers under their supervision. The most common burn cases from firecrackers are of hands and face, which are caused by these loud noise firecrackers or the flower pot crackers. Children burn their feet due to stepping on hot burnt wires (phuljhadi) as well.

In case of a burn, the first thing one should do is to keep the burnt skin area under running water so that it cools down and chemicals get washed off. Avoid applying haldi or other home remedies and rush the patient to a doctor for further treatment. One can also apply antibiotic ointments and local anaesthetic jelly.

Burns caused by firecrackers are of chemical nature and deep, which require prolonged treatment and multiple procedures as per the severity of the burn.         

Dr Ramesh Ranka, Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon

Stick to healthy diet during festivities  

Diwali is a joyous annual festival, which everybody looks forward to. It is not wrong to eat sweets and oily food items during these days, but it should be eaten in small quantities. If you are having festival sweets and preparations, it is better not to have the usual meals of the day, instead, skip it altogether. Having these extra calories and fat-laden sweets along with your daily meals is bound to add more pressure to the digestive system and can lead to problems like hyperacidity. If you are hungry, then you can have your meals.

The best way is to have everything in small quantity. Eating these sweets are not nutritious or good for health and overeating can lead to illnesses like joint pains, indigestion and also skin problems.  Diabetics should avoid sweets altogether and even if they do eat, it should be with their anti-diabetic medications. Those who are obese, weak and old should avoid those sweets that are hard to digest.      

PH Kulkarni, BAMS (Ayurveda)

During Diwali, the number of patients visiting my clinic goes up

The spirit of joy and happiness during festivals can be experienced without creating noise and air pollution. Bursting of firecrackers during Diwali, especially those with high intensity sounds, can be harmful and lead to disoriented hearing ability. The smoke and pollutants from bursting firecrackers is equally bad for the air passage.   

As per the WHO guidelines, noise level above 100 decibels can be harmful but during Diwali, the sound limit exceeds 120 decibels. Whether you burst more or less firecrackers, it anyway contributes to the city’s noise and air pollution. During these festive periods, there is an increase in the number of patients visiting my clinic due to hearing problems, asthma, allergic sinusitis and other throat-related problems.

As the noise and air pollution continues to grow during the festive days, you can imagine its detrimental effects on health. Infants and children must be kept away from the firecracker sounds because it can adversely affect their hearing development. Noise levels can cause distress sleep among senior citizens and patients with sleeping disorders. As preventive measures, one can use ear muffs or plugs and nose or
mouth masks. 
Dr Seemab Shaikh, ENT Surgeon and Sleep Specialist

We have put up banners to spread the message of celebrating a safe Diwali

This year, we have already carried out an awareness campaign for students in over 110 schools in the city and PCMC area. We have targeted over 1.5 lakh students with campaigning still in progress. We are distributing pamphlets among students and collecting written appeals from them that they will burst less or no crackers this Diwali festival. We are targeting the students because they respond positively and understand the need for limiting mishaps and noise and air pollution. 

This Saturday, we have plans to carry out an awareness march on Laxmi Road with school students who will appeal to the shopkeepers to burst less firecrackers and altogether avoid the loud ones. We hope that the shopkeepers listen to the appeals of these schoolchildren. During the Laxmi Poojan, the Laxmi Road shopkeepers are known for celebrating Diwali by bursting lots of firecrackers, adding up to the city’s air and noise pollution. 

We have also put up banners in the city and PCMC areas to spread the message of celebrating a safe and a happy Diwali by giving up the practice of bursting firecrackers. The law restricts people from bursting firecrackers beyond 10 pm but still some of them choose to ignore the law. The law also bans bursting of loud firecrackers that produce more than 80 decibel sound, but many don’t seem to adhere to this rule.  

We feel instead of restricting people, it is important to make them aware of why it is important to play safe with firecrackers and adhere to the rules. Bursting crackers not only pose danger to our health, it is harmful to birds and animals.

Milind Deshmukh, State Secretary, Maharashtra Andhshraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS)

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