COVID-19: Odisha Experts Call For Cracker-Free Diwali This Year

Sunil Patnaik

Berhampur: Experts have called for a quiet Diwali this year as pollutant fire-crackers will aggravate the COVID-19 situation.

According to Dr. Narayan Mishra, retired professor, TB and Chest, MKCG Medical College and Hospital, here, after the fire-crackers are burst, particulate matters (Pm) and noxious gasses remain suspended in the air in high density. It creates health problem for a person vulnerable to allergic phenomena of the respiratory tract.

Those with chronic airway diseases like bronchial asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis get seriously affected as their local immunity of the airway and lungs is reduced. During this pandemic time, a person is likely to contract coronavirus easily. Besides, this will have a great impact on the persons who have already suffered from COVID-19 and have post-COVID pulmonary complications in compromised lungs including fibrosis, said Dr Mishra, who is also former president of Indian Chest Society & National College of Chest Physicians of India.

“We must refrain from all traditional activities like bursting crackers and displaying fireworks in this crucial situation of COVID-19,” he advised.

Sudhi Rout, convenor of Forum for Ganjam (FFG), said said though the COVID-19 graph of Ganjam is on a downward slide, increase in air pollution due to burning of crackers could deal a body blow to the efforts to rein in the spread of the disease.

“We must make Diwali a smoke-free affair and stay indoors and shun crackers during,” he said. The FFG, an organisation spearheading movement for development of Ganjam, organised a rally in Berhampur recently against use crackers during Diwali.

Pollutants released from the crackers will remain suspended in cool air for a longer duration. As winter would have set in at the time of Diwali, the dry air could aggravate breathing difficulties, said health experts. “We appeal to the state government to ban the sale of crackers,” they said.

However, the fire-cracker traders have kept their fingers crossed. “Last year, the district administration did not give us licence to sell crackers. This year, it seems COVID-19 will cast its shadow on Diwali,” said a trader.

Sunil Patnaik

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