No-cracker nonsense!

A friend of mine peeked into my e-mail and said I was a sort of jack of all causes. In some sense this is true. I feel strongly about several things- about the right to food, education, free speech, wars, communalism, gender issues and so on.Today, however, I received this e-mail from an NGO (one whose work I particularly admire of the Tsunami front) which said something about taking a pledge to use no crackers on Diwali. This is something that annoys me no end. My parents have been lung patients and I usually don’t like loud noises– but still crackers are half the joy of Diwali if not all of it.

There are a few things I must point out. If pollution is your problem- then take a look at this statistic about sources of pollution (for Delhi- a suitably polluted city):
Source 1970-71 1980-81 1990-91 2000-01
Industrial 56% 40% 29% 20%
Vehicular 23% 42% 64% 72%
Domestic 21% 18% 7% 8%

Read the white paper here.

Vehicular pollution accounts for the maximum amount of pollution today. Pollution on Diwali would be categorized under Domestic pollution. Even if it indeed was 10 times that would make it 80% for that day. Additionally, On Diwali the amount of vehicles is down to 1/10th the usual (a study by FME), which balances the equation for that particular day.

CNG with its benzene content causes a third of Delhi’s eye and ear problems especially in children (a study by VHS and CEE). Diwali crackers are constantly been upgraded to become less noxious- notice the boom in eco-friendly crackers and low-noise crackers thanks to a supreme court ruling last Diwali.

Fire injuries are common during Diwali not because firecrackers are bad- but because the proportion of fire crackers used is larger than on any other day. You just get to hear more about such injuries. What is the solution? Ban crackers? Stop using them? Or start implementing safety usage standards and advocate safe use? Don’t you burn hands when you use a stove? Light a candle? Burn a match? Let’s stop using these too because they cause injuries.

Finally, the child labour argument. What would you rather have underprivileged underage children do? Beg? Especially since there aren’t good schools that are inexpensive. What is the solution? How about making work easier? Making work more safe? Making it legal so that it comes within the purview of law and therefore can be reformed?

So, what if I don’t want to save some of my precious money? What if I really want to light cracker? Celebrate and feel good about it? Its my money, right? I will spend it any which way I want.