Medical experts call for ‘green’ Diwali, cite post-festival deaths last year

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New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) Stating that “crackers have no religion” and the cracker ban must not be linked to about Diwali but pollution alone, medical experts on Wednesday called for a ‘Green’ Diwali this year under the ongoing “My Right To breath” campaign.

Calling for an overall ban on the crackers, be it for Diwali or the New Year, experts urged that the whole issue must not be given a communal colour.

Citing the deaths caused due to the pollution– a claim Union Environment Ministry had rebuffed earlier, while also denying some of the international reports, senior thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists and paedritricians recalled last year’s situation after Diwali, claiming to have lost some of their patients.

“Last year after Diwali every hospital, if you look at the casualty data or ICU data, recorded a significant rise in the number of people coming with complaints to the emergencies with chest problems and getting admitted to the ICUs,” Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Centre for Chest Surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, and former Professor of Surgery at AIIMS, told IANS.

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Stating that the crackers has sulphur, lead and mercury which get attached to the lungs, he said that lot of people came with the complaint of chest pain to him last year.

“On exposure to toxins, people susceptible to infection, get pneumonia and it was bad pneumonia. So large number of people got admitted, some of them died also,” he said, adding that one can always say that a particular person died of pneumonia not pollution, “but how did that person get pneumonia had the pollution level not been there”.

On the impact on the fireworks industry workers in Tamil Nadu’s Sivakashi, panellists that included Neeraj Jain, senior pulmonologist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Anupam Sibal, senior paediatrician, Apollo Hospital and others said that there must be an alternative way.

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“I’m sure something could be done. When a dam is built, thousands of people get relocated, but you do it, its done for a good cause. So similarly, the workers there can be given some other job. Its a question of their livelihood, but its also question of lives of million of people,” said Jain.

Of the communal angle, Arvind Kumar said: “This is not about Diwali, this is about crackers. Cracker does damage, whether you burst it on New Year on any other festival, it will cause damage. We would request for ban throughout the year.”



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