Doctors appeal to West Bengal CM for blanket ban on fireworks this Diwali

Several of the city’s leading doctors, medical associations and environmental experts have collectively submitted a letter to the chief minister on the need for a safer, cleaner and greener festive season and have requested a complete ban on firecrackers.

The letter was signed by doctors from Association of Radiation Oncologists of India (AROI), Society of Emergency Medicine India, South Asian Medical Students Association, and NGOs, like SwitchON Foundation, Greenpeace, Rainforest Alliance, TSHED, Y-East.

The doctors appealed for a blanket ban on not only high-decibel firecrackers but all kinds of fireworks, which leave the city’s ambient air irrevocably polluted with heavy metals. In fact, the low-decibel, colourful light-emitting fireworks cause greater air pollution than the firecrackers. However, the current regulation has banned firecrackers beyond 90 decibel, but has allowed low-decibel fireworks.

The signatories, under the aegis of SwitchON Foundation, offered support to the administration for generating awareness about pollution among the public.

Suman Mallik, vice-president, AROI, said, “The extensive use of firecrackers during Diwali leads to five- to 20-times increase in the air pollutants.”

Vinay Jaju of SwitchON Foundation and Convenor of Bengal-CAN said, “We have urged the chief minister to ban firecrackers completely, as was done last year.”

Studies show a single-point rise in the level of air pollution can easily push up rise of Covid cases by 6%-7%.

Soirindhri Banerjee of Radiation Oncology, IPGMER & SSKM Hospital, said, “It is important to recognise the potential of smoke and suspended smog as significant worsening factors of respiratory infections.”

Arup Haldar, consultant pulmonologist, Woodlands Hospitals, said, “More careful approach is warranted from the administrative side to reduce the ambient air pollution in the coming winter. The dual enemies of air pollution and Covid may wreak havoc in the lungs.”

Kaustubh Choudhary, consultant paediatrician, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, said, “Last year, due to Covid, there were restrictions. Burning firecrackers was reduced and that helped in the reduction of the dust-related or pollution-related diseases that have led to exaggeration of asthma and respiratory problems for my patients in the past. Now, with the large number of viral-affiliated bronchiolitis cases, if pollution is increased, it can aggravate the core situation. Therefore, possibly, we should have restrictions this time too.”

Doctors appeal to West Bengal CM for blanket ban on fireworks this Diwali | Kolkata News – Times of India

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