Even as the three-day festivals of Naraka Chaturdashi, Deepavali and Balipadyami are over, albeit in a toned down manner, compared to previous years, due to the Covid-19 crisis, a section of the citizens call for a complete ban on firecrackers.
Despite the government passing an order that only 'green crackers' should be sold and lighted, people, in and around Mysuru city, have burst all kinds of crackers. Further, a section of the people will celebrate all Mondays of the current Karthika month of Chandramana calender. Tulasi Puja will also be celebrated on November 26. The crackers will be burst on all these days and also throughout the Karthika month. Next season will be Christmas and New Year.
Citizens concerned about the environment and also aggravation of Covid-19 symptoms, due to air pollution and smoke, are unhappy over the lethargic implementation of the ban on firecrackers. “Did the government have the wherewithal or mechanism to implement its order?” asked K A Chandrahas, an employee of a private firm.
As per the guidelines, 'green crackers' are those, which are manufactured as per the formulation developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research - National Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CSIR- NEERI) lab. The product approval of Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and their packing can be confirmed by the distinct green logo of CSIR-NEERI and PESI, as well as a Quick Response (QR) code.
“While the traders sold whatever crackers they had, as ‘green crackers’, there is no account of old stock with shopkeepers as well as people, from previous years. Does the government – Mysuru City Corporation, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and Police department – have a mechanism and human resources, to check each and every household. Besides, crackers are not burst only by those who celebrate Deepavali for religious reasons. People of other faiths also burst crackers for fun and revelry,” said S S Pankaja, a teacher.
A section of the citizens are for a complete ban on firecrackers, whether normal or green. There should be a ban on both production and sales of all kinds of crackers. Otherwise, both traders and people will find loopholes, to violate the restrictions, they said.
Dr Chandrasekhar, an elderly physician, “In Kannada, there is a proverb, ‘Athiyadare Amruthavu Visha’ meaning, excess of even elixir is poison. When there were no electric lights, lighting of lamps at the doorsteps of the houses was science, to trap insects, that see a huge surge during the month of Karthika. Now, electric lights in our houses, doorsteps, and on the streets are hundreds and thousands of times brighter than the traditional oil lamps. They distract the insects long before they can be trapped. Even crackers were not widespread, just a couple of decades ago."
"Now, almost everybody can afford crackers. When crackers were burst in limited quantum, they also checked the attack of insects. With almost everybody lighting crackers now, the effects are immense, negatively. There should be an end to everything. The time for crackers seems to have come,” said Dr Chandrasekhar, an elderly physician.