Tihar is an important Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal and India. During Deepawali or the festival of lights, people put diyas and pretty lights outside their homes to light up the night.
Tihar is not only a celebration of brothers and sisters and gods, it is a celebration of nature and animals like crows, dogs and cows. People use colored powder to make patterns on the ground called Rangolis to welcome the goddess Laxmi. It is a tradition to go around your neighbourhood and perform Deusi hoping to get good food and money as a reward. These are fun and harmless traditions that should be kept alive but there is another "tradition" that is not quite as harmless, and that is fireworks. Many people, mainly children my age, love the thrill of patakas but a few days of fun can hugely damage the environment.
It is a sad fact that most of the people that use fireworks dont even know about the damage they cause. But not all hope is lost because I know for sure that some of them would stop if they knew about the damage. First of all, fireworks leave dangerous toxins, harmful chemicals, metal particles and more behind. According to Terrapass, a company that provides carbon offsetting products, exposure to the fine particles that fireworks leave can have negative implications on people's health, such as coughing, asthma attacks and even heart attacks.
People with heart or lung diseases are at risk, and so are the elderly and children. You may be thinking: why should I listen to this whiny kid and stop having fun just because some old guy could have a heart attack ? Well, fireworks can burn down houses, and don't even get me started on how much it scares animals. Since Tihar is about respecting animals why would you use patakas that scare animals? Another reason to stop using patakas is that it is so disrespectful as other people won’t be able to breathe without having to smell and hear the noise. I know most people will continue to use fireworks but all I’m saying is at least just cut down on how much you use them.
There are many other ways to have fun and be with friends and family that does not harm the environment and the people. There are alternatives to harmful fireworks too; I learned that there are fireworks that are biodegradable and Sydney’s famous fireworks display is 100% carbon-neutral. The professional grade fireworks are made from biodegradable paper and don't leave any compounds or chemicals in the air. For the small amount of pollution resulting from Sydney’s firework display, the city purchases carbon offsets, which ensures a zero carbon impact event. Carbon offsets support clean and renewable energy projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I know that Nepal is far from having eco-friendly fireworks but while we wait for alternatives please refrain from using patakas. Do everything you can to save the environment and show some respect for the people and animals around you!