Bursting crackers affects animals more than it affects humans

While for some folks, Diwali can’t be celebrated without ushering it in by bursting firecrackers and lighting up fireworks. Apart from the environmental impacts and noise pollution it causes, one should also be conscious about its detrimental effects upon the health of birds and animals

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Diwali is known as the festival of lights, but over the years this joyous celebration has turned from a festival of lights into a festival of noise. Children and teenagers are generally the one who light the most firecrackers. Earlier firecrackers were generally small and less noisy, but over the years, new varieties of firecrackers have come into the markets. And unfortunately most of them are loud.

Birds mainly face breathing problems due to the smoke emanated from firecrackers. The smoke from firecrackers gets trapped in their lungs and they cannot breathe easily. It mostly affects birds that are flying around areas where crackers have been lit. They also face a high risk of developing eye infections.

While many of us may enjoy this, it is very difficult for animals to be at easy. They are frightened due to the noise, due to the fear they can get a fever. They might avoiding food or water and grow weak and fall sick due to this.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr J C Khanna, secretary of the Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals, said, “Due to the loud sound created by the firecrackers animals and birds face ear problems and at times there ear drums can tear. Their eyes burn due to the smoke. Also, the toxic chemicals such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, and other chemicals which enter into the airstream can cause breathing difficulties.”

Dr Khanna further said, “60 to 70 per cent pigeons face breathing difficulties and 25 to 30 per cent parrots, owls, and black kites experience breathing problems.”

On a positive note, due to increased awareness in society, the amount of the injured bird ratio has come down. In the past 3-4 years, the rate of injured birds and animals has come down to 30 to 35 per cent.

Dr Khanna added, “Stray animals are most affected due to bursting of firecrackers. Children tend to light firecrackers and throw them upon animals for the sake of fun. At times, they tie a string of crackers to their tales, the dogs run out of fear and sometimes it ends in a gruesome way with the dog being run over by a car.”

Dr Khanna stated that people who own pets, such a dogs and cats should take precautionary measures and be responsible towards their furry friends, he said, “Pet owners must take care of them. They should close the doors, so that the sound doesn’t affect them. They should switch on the radio or TV instead to distract them. As they don’t eat due to fear. It is important that they are well looked after.”

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Deepa Katyal, a veterinarian at Animal Wellness and Rehabilitation Centre, said, “Due to the sound of crackers. The animals and birds are harmed in a major way. They avoid food and water out of fear. They grow weak and fall sick. We should them in mind while bursting crackers and avoid areas where stray animals live.”