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“The scale of Sunday’s tragedy at a temple in Kerala is staggering. More than 100 people have been killed and at least 380 left injured after a massive fire broke out at the Puttingal Devi Temple in Kollam, where more than 10,000 people had gathered ahead of the Vishu New Year festival. The disaster was not only catastrophic – with the explosion being felt almost a kilometre away – it was also almost entirely avoidable, considering the district authorities never gave permission for a fireworks display. But such is the story of fireworks in India. These pyrotechnics have become an integral part of celebrations across the country, from sports events to weddings to religious functions like the one at the temple in Kerala…

Air pollution

Every year, usually around Diwali when people around the country burst crackers, people bring up the amount of pollution caused by an entire nation that seems to be resorting to pyrotechnics on the same evening. Since 2010, Diwali peak pollution levels have hit ten times the standard level, suggesting a heavy build-up in particulate matter in the air.

The Supreme Court last year refused to ban crackers on Diwali, in part because of concerns that this would ruffle community sentiments, considering Indians have been using traditional fireworks for centuries now. The court did, however, specify guidelines that govern when firecrackers can be burst.

Increasing eco-consciousness has certainly led to a drop in the amount of crackers being sold around Diwali, at least in Delhi, but their indiscriminate use for other occasions over the rest of the year continues unabated…” Read it on

How fireworks keep killing: From manufacturing accidents to pollution to disastrous blazes