It is that time of the year again when bursting firecrackers is a ritual enjoyed by most as much as munching on sweets and enjoying the light of candles and lamps. But these crackers can sometimes turn into sources of distress if no precaution is taken. A little caution can help stop celebrations turning into a disaster.
Also as you stock up on those fire crackers and fireworks to ensure that Diwali is a dazzled affair, do keep in mind the health hazards associated with it. While noise pollution and air pollution are the natural outcomes of the festival, according to experts some serious allergies can be caused due to the high levels of pollution as well.
People with respiratory problems and those sensitive to allergies are at utmost risk. "Due to the high level presence of Nitrogen Oxide and Sulphur Oxide in the air, cases of Asthma, cough, irritation in the throat surface in a huge number," says Dr Sanjay Dixit, vice dean MGM Medical College.
People with asthma bear the brunt due to excessive exposure to smoke during this season. The crackers that contain chemicals such as sulphur, aluminium, carbon, etc, release harmful particles that can stay in the atmosphere for a longer period of time, leading to longer exposure to the chemicals.
For asthma patients, who already have hyperactive airways, these pollutants are further damaging and can trigger asthma attacks especially among the elderly and children.
Doctors say prevention is the only way to avoid asthma attacks as Diwali is celebrated at a time when there is already change in season, exposing people to multiple infections and allergens.
A study conducted by the department of community medicine, MGM Medical College targeted on finding the levels of pollution at the four major crossings of the city — Bhawarkuan, Navlakha, Palasia, Geeta Bhawan Square — also revealed a similar trend.
People residing in these areas were found to be suffering from respiratory ailments and hearing problems more than the ones living in other areas. "The test was conducted by using the Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR). A number of people featured below the healthy rate in the PEFR chart. Around 20% of people belonged to this category," said Dr Dixit.
While these tests were conducted on a normal day, it should be noted that during Diwali the statistics are even more alarming. "Firecrackers increase the pollution level to a large extent. These figures become even more disturbing, what is 20% on regular days rises up to 30-40%."
However, as air pollution is a major irritant leading to problem in breathing, noise pollution is also a major problem. Senior citizens and newborn are most vulnerable to this.
The high decibel of noise cannot only cause them difficulty in taking proper rest but also damage their hearing ability if they have a proximity to the crackers. "Infants and senior citizens should stay indoors. They should also use ear mufflers or cotton cloth to minimize the level of noise," added Dr Dixit.