The festival of lights this year may be a little less noisy as a section of the society has decided to observe what is called an “eco-friendly Diwali.” While a good many of them are smitten by the environment bug, a few are deterred by the recent fire accident in Sivakasi.
“Last year I did not buy fire crackers for my children nor will I buy them this year. I prefer to celebrate a non-polluting Diwali. And besides, the most important thing is to light the Diyas, not burst crackers,” opined Jyotsna Sreenath, an assistant professor at Malla Reddy Engineering College. Preethi Pannala, an M.Com student, also has vowed not to burst fire crackers from this year. “I watched a documentary about the fire accident in Sivakasi, wherein 50 plus people died. It has changed my view completely,” she said.
The price factor is also a deterrent for people like Kapil Shankala who runs Laxmi Cycles in Secunderabad. “Crackers have also become commercialised. Before I used to buy a whole carton of fireworks for `5000. Now for that same amount all you get is a small box,” Kapil pointed out.
But traders are not banking on the middle-aged for their sales. They are pinning hopes on children. But quite a few fear that children, hooked more to games and internet, might use the festival holiday that way! “Children these days are too much into internet, and games. Kids aren’t as enthusiastic about fire crackers like before,” rued Sanjay Kumar Bhope, owner of Shanti Fire Works at Begum Bazaar. Echoing his views, Raju, another trader, added that at times kids themselves ask their parents not to buy too many crackers. “
For environmentalists like Arun Krishnamurthy, founder of Environmentalist Foundation of India, this is music to their ears. “As more and more people become aware, it will become a real celebration without pollution,” he said.