City gears up to welcome festival of lights

Experts say 95 per cent of burns accidental, advise caution

Crackers generally consist of several chemicals such as copper, zinc, lead and magnesium, which are harmful to the human health.

Furthermore, while using firecrackers, there is always a risk of burn injury. Smoke from crackers can cause eye irritation and respiratory problems. The noise pollution created by constant bursting of crackers disturbs the peace and can even cause ear damage.

Says Dr Ravindra Khaiwal, Assistant Professor of Environment Health, School of Public Health, PGI: "Firework explosions release a wide array of pollutants that are scattered into the ambient air. The colourful explosions and sparkles disappear in seconds, releasing the smoke containing pollutant and by-products such as oxides of carbon, sulphur, nitrogen, ammonia, phosphates and other heavy metals in the sky that pollute the air and contaminate groundwater. The explosion also results in lifting of dust in the finest form that can easily enter the lungs. This represents a real threat for people with asthma."

Quite often the joyous mood of Diwali is marred by accidental burns while bursting fire crackers. Dr Vikas Sharma, chief consultant dermatologist and dermato-laser surgeon, National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex, says 95 per cent of burns are accidental. Sharma also says that 80 per cent of burn victims are children because these accidents often happen at home. With a little care, therefore, these accidents can be avoided.

Further, when the injuries are on the face, hands or arms, 40 per cent of the burns are on children below the age of 14. "Lighting a fire cracker may seem very easy and fun but if one is not careful it can cause serious damage. One should never attempt to re-light a dud because it can go off. You should douse it with water instead," adds Dr Sharma.

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