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25 October 2007

Enjoy responsibly

No this is not about Don't Drink and Drive.

This is about Diwali and firecrackers.

Having grown up in Mumbai in one of the most polluted suburbs with the highest incidence of asthma and other respiratory disorders, Diwali is a season of dread. The joy of the festival overshadowed by the suffering caused by the smoke caused. I also remember how an elder in our family, a heart patient would hardly get any rest during diwali- this is true of other senior citizens too.

Any one who has owned pets, will testify to how the poor dog is terrified and shivers and trembles with terror at the loud noises. For children, ailing persons, pets and such, irresponsible manner in which firecrackers are chosen and burst - any time, deafening bombs etc depict an appaling lack of civic sense.

It is time that we have fireworks display only in common grounds/area's which is for all to enjoy. Beautiful, visual ones. Only a few non-noisy and smaller crackers should be available in restricted measure to individuals, for religious use- such as early morning after the traditional bath or for home use.

This would ensure responsible and equitable enjoyment. All sections of society will be able to participate, unlike now. Not to mention the increased fire safety as things like this get regulated.

Hopefully, in a ripple effect, other issues of unorganised sector production such as child labour in the industry also will get streamlined as today someone who does not wish to pay a higher rate for authorised products, buys them at lower rates which are supplied by of course, those who have lower rates of production costs.

But more than any economic reason, the social and development issues involved are not minor for us to ignore as cities become increasingly urban and sophisticated.

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