Fair warning – Read this blogpost as a RANT.
I stopped in the 7th or 8th standard.
Then spent 5000 bucks on crackers 2 years ago when Liberandus gave gyan 😠😠 https://t.co/x7kzfErUTv
— Aneesh Gokhale (@authorAneesh) November 14, 2020
This Brilliant Logic seems to have taken over the Hindutva Twitter for the last week or so. A lot of well-known Rightish folks are starting I don’t like firecrackers BUT. As John Snow said in some GOT episode, everything one says before a BUT is horse shit.
Virat Kohli took to social media to tell his followers to not burn crackers and was made a meal off on the Indian twitter-sphere. Kohli virtue signaling can turn off some people as pointed out here
‘do Not burst crackers during Diwali’ | But burst crackers after many games during the IPL? .. I love Virat’s batting but this ridiculous hypocrisy is crazy. Maybe all of the IPL team owners should be told by their captains according to this logic https://t.co/u3wAvvBnqA
— Aadit Kapadia આદિત કાપડિયા (@ask0704) November 14, 2020
As someone who opposes Fire-crackers (especially the ones which leave fumes of toxic metal in winters), I would love most crackers to be banned all 365 days of the year including Diwali, New years, weddings, Cricket matches, and political victories. Having said that, QUANTITY/SIZE matters. On New years or even political victories, most of the 135 Crore plus people don’t blow millions of tons of firecrackers. Hunting wild game in a country like the United States is fine to an extent, but if Indians start hunting deer for meat the deer populations would be screwed beyond repair. India shouldn’t act with the irresponsibility with which the United States and other less dense countries can act. Comparing this to supposedly green celebrities and their diesel guzzling SUVs and ACs is stupid, Cars and AC are bad for the air quality, but they are no way close to the toxic fumes from the firecrackers which we breathe. Especially during covid times, avoiding a couple of days of breathing in metallic and toxic fumes seems to be a no brainer – but not for the times we live in.
The way with which governments and NGT have acted against firecrackers on eve of Diwali knee jerk reaction and needs to be called out. Governments as usual have taken the easy low-hanging fruit instead of acting on deeper problems of air pollution in North India. The arbitrariness of the action is bad and heartless but is burning crackers to spite of governments and liberals equally stupid – like the angry husband who hates alcohol but drinks just to spite his wife. Especially for people who don’t like burning crackers, it’s a classic case of putting feelings/politics over principles. While firecrackers are not the primary or even the secondary cause of air pollution in India, they certainly have the capacity to push the AQI from Severe to Hazardous for a couple of days.
Enough ranting, let’s make some pictures do some talking. These pictures are from my terrace in Pune. Unlike North India, there is no stubble burning which causes the annual spike in pollution levels. With that variable out, it’s easier to see the drastic effects of crackers on the air quality
If crackers continue with a higher rate for longer, by midnight today this view would be drastically altered with exceedingly poor visibility (a good proxy for poor and toxic air). In all likelihood, the gulf of smoke surrounding the city will remain over the city for a couple of days (depending on wind and weather conditions).
On occasions when the city gets caught in the perfect storm (like it did last year), the next couple of days would be incredibly poor viz. air quality.
I have not been to Delhi during the peak of air pollution however on 28/10/19 a ten-minute walk drastically affected my eyes and throat giving me a taste of what life might be for Delhites. It’s not about the Environment in the abstract, it’s about the air we breathe. Is it worth compromising the already pathetic air quality for a couple of hours of fun? or worse just to spite the other side and make a political point?
Happy Diwali to everyone – even those who would find this rant unpalatable 🙂