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HomeFashion & LifestyleSwitchON Foundation organised an awareness campaign titled ‘Smoke Free Diwali’

SwitchON Foundation organised an awareness campaign titled ‘Smoke Free Diwali’

Continuing with the call from last year’s Diwali, SwitchON Foundation had yet again held a city wide public awareness campaign titled ‘Smoke Free Diwali’ urging and appealing citizens to say no to firecrackers this year. This was organized under the aegis of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board. The initiative aims at raising public sensitivity towards the pollution caused by bursting crackers and illustrates how the effect is not just immediate, but long term.  

As part of the initiative, several schools, colleges, housing associations and organizations took part in it with various activities being organized; like sit and draw competition among school students based on the theme of ‘Smoke Free Diwali.’ They also took part in making rangoli, posters making competitions based on the theme and were awarded prizes for the various innovation demonstrations.

Cycle groups took to the streets with their lighted cycle under a theme ‘Cycle with Lights’ in order to draw attention to the threat of air pollution while encouraging citizens to celebrate a pollution-free & safe festive season. While Toto mikeing was used to spread awareness in parts of Bidhannagar, Lake town footbridge, CK market, Baisakhi Market, FB Market , Kolkata –  Exide , Gariahat, Sealdah station , Central Avenue, Malandighi Nabarun Club – Hattala Durgapur,  Barsul to Shaktigarh , Burdwan

A Cyclist who took part in the event said, “We don’t need fire crackers to have fun during Diwali, there are more sustainable ways of having fun. Festivals and spirituality should bring us closer to nature and not harm them.”

A Resident who joined the campaign said, “In the light of Diwali, may our hearts be filled with good wishes for all. Let our society become aware of noise and air pollution.”

The pollution created by firecrackers gradually degrades the ambient air quality over time. Subsequently, every year right after Diwali the Air Quality Index (AQI) levels goes higher due to the increase in the pollutant level seen during Diwali.

Doctors too have warned that the particulate matter and the toxic air released by firecrackers enters our lungs and bloodstream making it extremely dangerous. 

Dr. Arup Halder, renowned pulmonologist from the Woodland Hospital said, “People with breathing difficulties particularly COPD patients suffer heavily due to high ambient air pollution due to firecrackers.” He further appealed citizens to abstain from bursting toxic firecrackers. 

Earlier the Calcutta High Court had directed that no fireworks other than the green ones bearing QR codes would be sold in Bengal. The high court directed that green crackers can be burnt from the ground-floor height, that too only between 8pm and 10pm on Kali Puja and Diwali night. Kolkata Police has also decided to slap the Explosive Substances Act on anyone found with banned firecrackers, be it sellers, transporters or customers, failure to which can lead to three years imprisonment.

Representative from Kolkata Zonal Centre, CSIR NEERI said, “NEERI stamp has been imprinted on the boxes of all green firecrackers, however given the chances of fake QR codes and possibility of duplicacy, we all need to be responsible for our action” He further said “I urge all citizens to check and validate the QR codes printed on boxes of green firecrackers by using their smartphones and only buy the genuine green crackers that have passed emission tests. The QR code scan should produce certificate given by NEERI.”

Vinay Jaju, MD SwitchON Foundation said, “Really glad to be part of this initiative along with the WBPCB. On this occasion of the festival of lights I appeal to everyone to enjoy the festival safely and understand the importance of a green clean Diwali.”

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