The festival season has started in India. People are in serious shopping mode for clothes, sweets, snacks and of course crackers. But many environmental experts are urging people to abstain from bursting crackers during festivals especially Diwali, due to pollution issues.
Environmentalists and NGO’s are taking many initiatives to spread more awareness on this issue. They said that bursting crackers will increase the noise and air pollution levels and also cause disturbances to animals in the vicinity.
‘Bursting of crackers scares away birds and animals and also increases noise and air pollution levels. A village in Coimbatore which is near to a bird sanctuary has stopped bursting crackers for more than a decade.’ As Coimbatore is a hilly region and also it is near to the popular hill station, Ooty. It is a home for many birds and animals. Therefore an initiative called ‘Save Coimbatore Wetlands’ campaign has been launched to urge people to stay away from bursting crackers.
“I have been communicating to these people through SMSes and social networks. This is besides going from farm-to-farm whenever I visit villages as part of animal conservation work. If it does not rain during Diwali, the forests will become dry and the risk of a forest fire is very high if people were to burst crackers. Near the wetlands too, the noise scares away birds, for whom this is the nesting time,” said Umesh Marudachalam, an environmentalist.
Tree Trust, another NGO in the city run by environmentalists Mohan Raj and M Yoganathan, has been visiting various government and private schools to create awareness among children on harmful effects of bursting crackers.
“It scares away animals like elephants, wild boars and leopards, forcing them to venture deeper into the forest. This forces animals to always remain on alert and bunk hunting. Many mammals even leave their young ones and run away. As a result, often a few of hatchlings starve to death. The excess smoke generated also disturbs the animals,” said Raj.
Environmentalists hope that residents of nearby villages will also follow in their footsteps to save animals and birds from disturbances due to crackers.