Smoke from fireworks harmful to health: Doc

Kathmandu, November 6

Rampant bursting of firecrackers has become integral to the celebration of the festival of light in major cities, mainly Kathmandu Valley, despite a complete ban on it.

Dr Ajit Shrestha, a pulmonologist at Alka Hospital, warned that the harmful chemical in the smoke emitted by firecrackers would pose a risk to the respiratory health of people, mainly the asthmatics.

“The smoke emitted by fireworks consists of metallic particles and is bio-reactive. Exposure to such smoke can be detrimental to health as firecrackers are made by using metals and gunpowder. A deep inhalation of the hazardous smoke into the lungs can end up persons with asthma and cardiovascular ailments to the hospital,” he said. Firecrackers contain high levels of lead, copper, potassium, magnesium, strontium, aluminium, titanium, barium, of nitric oxide and sulphur dioxide, among others.

The smoke emitted by all-pervasive use of firecracker would worsen the already deteriorated ambient air quality of the Valley, he cautioned. Dr Shrestha suggested to all, including the elderly and children, to avoid exposure to fireworks to reduce its negative impacts on health. He also underscored the need to keep a hawk-eyed vigil on the illegal import, storage, possession, sale, distribution and use of firecrackers.

Though police claim that they have kept the city under strict vigil round-the-clock to ensure that firecrackers are not used, a loud bursting sound of fireworks can be heard in every nook and corner of the Valley. They said over 15 suppliers were arrested with a huge cache of firecrackers in the past one week and warned that no one would be allowed to smuggle, distribute, sell and use the contraband. “Use of firecrackers is not our culture and is punishable by law,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati said.

Around 3,535 cops, both in uniform and civvies, have been deployed to prevent any untoward incident and give people a sense of security in Kathmandu. The number of Quick Response Teams, patrol/mobile units, dog sniffing and reserve units have also been increased, he informed. Anyone caught with firecrackers containing high explosive substance will be charged under the Explosive Act, DSP Bogati warned.