by Geetha GT – Diwali, which marks the Hindu New Year, is celebrated with a riot of fire crackers across the nation. On the other hand, air pollution in Bangalore increased to terrifyingly high levels during Diwali celebrations this year. Thick smog suspended low in the air on Diwali night and for a few days after also. While we ignore the odor – and some people even claim to like it – we can’t overlook the fact that we (including all other living organisms) are inhaling toxic air. Diwali can thus be hypothetically deadly for one and all!
This year Bangalore already has a lot to worry about with the Air Quality Index elevated to the ‘Moderate’ level and PM 2.5 (Respiratory Suspended Particulate Matter- RSPM) going up to three times more than the safe limit. One Diwali night might cause as much impairment to the environment as regular pollution does over the entire year! The time is ready for change. But for that, we need to be free of our selective amnesia about pollution. This is not a matter we can challenge only around Diwali. It requires year-round intervention.