Damaging Swachh M’luru! Streets Layered with Firecrackers Waste
Mangaluru: Is there any festival in Mangaluru that is held without fireworks or bursting of firecrackers. I guess not! I feel that there is NO .. absolutely NO reason left to keep the cracker culture still up. Time has changed and its calling us to change as well. Kudla is not the same like it was decades ago. The environment with various kinds of pollutants in it has become like a ticking time bomb which is ready to explode any day. And before I proceed with the answer in detail I would say that its not about Dasara or Hindus. Its about every Indian, every Mangalurean. Its about every person because festivals are just an excuse. We light up crackers on every Indian festival including new year. But as a responsible generation, we should think about preserving our environment so that the generations to come can enjoy and live the way we are living. So that the generations to come do not end up cursing us for being selfish.
While on one side we are trying to promote the awareness of PM Modi’s “Swachh Bharath Abhiyan”, but on the other hand, we are polluting the environment with bursting of firecrackers and other fireworks. Just looking at the past two days, the amount of firecrackers burst during Ayudha Puja by businesses, and also during “Chende” procession is enormous. Just look at the city streets- at each corner, the wastage of firecrackers have spoiled the image of ‘Swachh Mangaluru”- we are all educated people in a town called “Education Hub” but we are not using our common sense when we knowingly light up fireworks and mess up the area. There are many ways of looking at this ticking time bomb issue but I will try to enumerate as many as possible.
Apart from Noise Pollution, Health Hazards, Air Pollution, Irate animals, (For animals, fireworks are no cause for celebration. Firework displays and celebrations bring confusion, anxiety, and fear into the animals, whether they are on the streets, or as pets in our house.), Property Damage, and Overspending by consumers, Fireworks/firecrackers are just a nuisance in keeping the city clean. While many Mangaloreans were enjoying their extra Tuesday morning snooze, post festivities of Dasara celebrations, pourakarmikas (MCC sweepers) across the city were taking up the gargantuan task of cleaning Sunday’s and Monday’s mess. In most residential areas, cracker waste formed an additional layer over the roads with people having kicked off celebrations with fireworks. To make things worse, most road corners had bins or garbage piles with an excess of festival waste — from Puja items to sweet boxes and plantain leaves.
Pourakarmikas, who were doing their cleaning well into the afternoon, said that the worst was yet to come with tomorrow being the day people generally burst crackers. “We are doing some cleaning today. But there isn’t much of a point as it is only going to get worse tomorrow,” said an MCC sweeper. Another pourakarmika, who was seen picking piles of festival garbage on MG Road, said that it was sad she had to work on the festival day. “If only these people had cared to dispose of their waste in a methodical way, or taken a little effort in storing it properly, our festival would have been better,” he said. Accusing people of not remembering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharath Mission’, yet another MCC cleaner said, ” If people are enjoying bursting crackers, then they should also take up the responsibility of cleaning up the place. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ready to come down to the streets to clean, then why can’t the common man? They are not only polluting the environment, they are also polluting the roads and it is only we who need to clean them, no one else comes forward.”
Due to fireworks, toxins and harmful compounds like sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, manganese, cadmium are released in the air and can lead to adverse impact on lungs, causing numerous respiratory ailments. The increase in pollutant levels also causes symptoms like eye burns, running nose, and skin allergy and skin rashes.While no extra measures had been taken to deal with post-Dasara waste, there as an estimated increase of 10 to 15 per cent in garbage volumes. Another segment of people who bore the brunt of cracker-led festivities is those with respiratory ailments. Radhika, who stays in one of the apartments on Warehouse Road near Mannagudda has sealed her windows to protect her 75-year-old husband from the thick smoke coming in from the road side.
“I even requested them to stop bursting crackers outside our house, but they asked me to give them an extra hour.” Radhika says that the crackers have also scared her neighbour’s newborn, who has been crying incessantly.” Even their pet dog has been shivering out of scare from the loud noise of these crackers. Meanwhile, condemning the level of pollution that goes up during Dasara and also during Diwali and the money wasted on crackers, a resident of Urwa said, “I feel that children who do not have access to anything should be helped. Those who do not have clothes should be given clothes. Those who do not have food should be given sweets. Instead of wasting so much money on crackers and fireworks, I feel this is the best way to derive enjoyment during this auspicious festival.”. While there have been many awareness drive, wouldn’t be nice if organizations come up with awareness projects to ban loud fireworks/firecrackers, for a better and safer environment.