• Factivists

Fireworks: Celebration or Cruelty?

By Sania Merchant

Diwali is an Indian festival, celebrated annually throughout the country & is known as “The Festival of Lights” for its extravagant use of lights & burning of firecrackers. This Diwali millions of people boycotted the use of fireworks for various reasons.

I still remember as a kid I used to adore Diwali. The “Festival of Lights” used to fascinate me so much. The lights, candles, colourful designs and sweets were something I looked forward to.

But over the years the fascination faded as I realized the cruelty that occurred behind the scenes. The festival which was meant to stand for nothing but purity and holiness started to resemble others pain and harm over the years.

And I am not the only one who feels this way. This Diwali, it was not just a festival of celebration but a form of silent protest. This Diwali, millions of people said no to the use of firecrackers as a form of celebration. This Diwali millions of people grieved and were filled with dread as every firecracker burst. Everyone questioned what harm we have been causing and still are causing to others. Everyone questioned where we stood on this occasion and its celebration and how far we were willing to go for 2 seconds of happiness.

And as this went down, one question swarmed my mind: Where did we wrong? The answer is everywhere.

Mostly any major festival is celebrated with the glam of fireworks, specially the Indian festival of Diwali. For a long time, most people were not aware of what ensues behind the industry of firecrackers.

While these fireworks are enjoyed by mostly children from privileged background for fun, they are made by children from the opposite, unprivileged background who are underpaid and forced by circumstance to work for these companies.

Children under the age of 15 work for these factories for long hours are paid less than $1 USD and work under dangerous and unsafe conditions and environment. They are unsupervised and work without gear, often directly exposed to harmful chemicals on their skin which can trigger skin disease, eye infection, asthma and most importantly tuberculosis.

There have been various causes of explosions and children being hurt and fatally injured. According to International Labour Organization, more than 80 million children are employed for these labour works all over the world. This billion-dollar industry which exports to millions of consumers is built on the foundation of cruelty.

After they are made under these circumstances, they are exported to the consumers who light them, harming the ones around them temporarily as well as permanently. Fireworks are the worst nightmare for the millions and billions of people suffering from asthma and heart diseases. With their health triggers on the rise due to the use of fireworks, it can lead to long-term damage or even death.

With the polluted air causing it difficult for people with lung issues to breathe, the people can easily be suffocated, and it can cause long-term lung diseases. The loud noise can act as a painful trigger for people with heart diseases and lead to long-lasting chest pains and even attacks.

Fireworks can lead to hearing problems by damaging a person’s eardrum. It can also trigger panic attacks, anxiety, stress and PTSD attacks by stressing a person out. Fireworks are also dangerous and lead to fire and explosion which can injure hundreds of people all at once.

Another big issue is air pollution. It leads to smoke and dust particles which can cause long-term harm to the environment by spreading toxic chemicals in the air and polluting the natural, clean, air. These particles can fly further in the air and cause more damage to other surroundings.

Fireworks are made up of toxic and unsafe chemicals which are often released from factory mills into the air without any filter; dangerous chemicals are also dumped into the river during production which can be consumed by common people and making of fireworks also creates a lot trash that is not bio- degradable and harms the natural resources.

Fireworks production and use lead to a harmful impact on the people and the environment. Use of fireworks does nothing but encourage cruelty towards people and nature. There are other safer and friendlier alternatives to the celebration of festive occasions that one can make use of.

Your decision to boycott the same fireworks that will give you just 2 seconds of happiness can make a big change.

You can make a change for various numbers of lives if you try and take a stand against this cruel industry.

The real question is, are you willing to try?