Deepawali or Diwali, the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights), is one of the biggest and the brightest of all Indian festivals. Marked by four days of celebration, it illumines the country with its brilliance and joy.
However, along with the joy and celebration, there are certain facts that need to be addressed as responsible citizens of our country and the world. The festival of Diwali is celebrated by bursting firecrackers all around the country. In India, child labour is still rampant in the fireworks industry. In the 1990s, 30% of the employees in firecracker industries were children below the age of 14. Since then, there has not been much change. Adding to this, Labour and Safety standards are disregarded in both Indian and Chinese firecracker industries. There are major accidents every year resulting in numerous deaths.
Firecrackers also result in air, soil and water pollution. Harmful gases, heavy metals, and greenhouse gases (that cause global warming), like ozone, are produced while bursting firecrackers.
Our University campus is home to more than 200 species of birds, and other wildlife like deer, tortoises, and porcupines. The sounds from bursting firecrackers terrify them, especially the birds. It causes them stress, and frightens them into abandoning their nests.
In buying and bursting firecrackers, we encourage an unjust industry, and their unacceptable practices like child labour. Let’s not do that. Let us also not stress our furry and feathered (and needled!) friends with whom we share our campus.
This Diwali, let us join hands and say no to firecrackers in UoH!
Thank you for helping make our world a better place. Do spread the word.