Blog: No to Firecrackers

sensitive cat

I am forced to write this after seeing my pet cat behave 'abnormally' at the noise of festive firecrackers. This happens only during festivals, yes, but one must admit that it happens more frequently than ever before- thanks to the dirt cheap prices and easy accessibility.

Cats and dogs and perhaps other animals have more sensitive hearing than us humans. They become vulnerable, scared and confused.

When I was in Bishop Heber, MCC- I remember we had friends from Tirupur, the firecracker capital of the south. Some of them were wealthy owners of firecracker industries. Their presence in the hall guaranteed us a regular supply of heavy duty ones, at dirt cheap prices or for free. While I am thankful to them for adding spark to my blind days (daze). Today I have a critical view about them.

Firecrackers are explosive devices that deliver audio as well as visual effects. Any rally, festival, march would not be complete without the firecracker rendition in the end. Thrissur pooram the mother of all poorams in Kerala, keeping the elephants aside, must ascribe some of its grandiose to the thunderous display of firecrackers.

Many nations like Australia, Canada, Singapore have banned or limited the use of firecrackers, following fatal accidents. Some of the nations allow restricted usage, provided that they are supervised by a licensed pyro technician.

I think the pros of using firecrackers on a weighscale would stay high up, considering the weight of the cons. Firecrackers are explosives, after all. It can be argued that they are mini explosives, but the inherent danger cannot be written off. The noise and air pollution it causes are another big story. Sulphur dioxide that is released into the air is way above acceptable levels. It causes acute breathlessness in humans. Many hospitals report a high admittance of asthma patients during festivals, pointing directly to firecrackers.

Firecrackers and its ash rain down barium, cadmium, lead, and even arsenic, all being poisonous metals.

If a festival requires such audio visual grandeur to complete its festivity, we need to find alternatives or use those already available alternatives.

  • Disney has come up with a way to "green up pyrotechnics" by using environmentally benign compressed air, a new technology, than gun powder as the chief propellant.
  • Let us go back to confetti. Colourful confetti from recycled paper can be a worthy alternative.
  • Light shows and laser shows are another alternative for visual delight. They have their cons too, but they are far safer than firecrackers
  • Anyone for a bon fire? Let us all sit together in a circle, light a bon fire, roast potatoes, kebabs, sing songs and enjoy community experience without explosions and pollution

Promoting the use of firecrackers for festivals aid in indirectly encouraging the 'believers' or 'devotees' to fizzle out or go soft on violence/inciting violence. The firecracker is a mini bomb. It hurts humans, animals, pets and atmosphere. I fail to understand how a believer is able to appreciate such forms of violence.

In the Bible, Acts 9 beautifully depicts the conversion of Saul. A light flashed from heaven with a thunderous voice from heaven. Why are you persecuting me? Any act of violence against God's creation is persecuting God. God's audio visual pyrotechniques were real and transformative. They shook the sinner up and knocked in him sense. He realized his folly and became a completely different person.

Lets leave the spiritual pyro techniques to God.


By Rev. Prince Varghese Madathileth
Assistant Secretary,
Sunday School Samajam.

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