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A group of mothers from Pune is working hard to convince people to avoid bursting crackers this Diwali to safeguard the health of their children. These mothers are a part of a pan-India movement called Warrior Moms that has recently launched a campaign #DhoomDhamakaWithoutPatakha. Warrior Mom has recently started its Pune Chapter. This information was stated in a release shared by Warrior Moms group.

The press release further states that their concern is not only the studies that have been accepted even by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) showing a correlation between Covid-19 related mortalities and air pollution, but also a report released on Thursday by Awaaz Foundation that tested the chemical contents present in fire-crackers and revealed presence chemicals, which are harmful and toxic.

Pashan based Anuja Bali Karthikeyan, who is part of the Warrior Moms movement said that their Diwali campaign that started two weeks back also got a major boost after the Maharashtra State Government in its Diwali celebration SOP urged citizens to avoid bursting crackers to curb noise and air pollution that could affect coronavirus patients.

“We are using social media extensively to spread awareness and I also plan to visit the slum housing in my neighbourhood to show videos by doctors to educate the children as well as their parents about the health hazards of firecrackers,” she said adding that Warrior Moms from Pune have also been sharing information about the chemical analysis of firecrackers released by Mumbai based Awaaz Foundation and were asking people to give priority to the health of their children.

“As part of our campaign we have initiated conversations with our relatives and friends. We are also using social media to spread the word. We are telling people about the harmful chemicals present in crackers and sharing Awaaz Foundations reports as the test results are enough proof as to why we should keep away from noisy and polluting fire-crackers,” She said. She also adds that with the support of local mom bloggers and city-based mothers group they were reaching out to people with their petition so people can sign and give a missed call to pledge for a smoke-free Diwali.

“We are delighted to see that there are so many people, who share our concerns. While we are already working with Doctors for Clean Air, there are many including the Chief Priest of Tirupati, Dr AV Ramana Dikshitulu who have appealed people to celebrate Diwali in its true spirit and by extending help to those in need and impacted by the pandemic in different ways,” said Hema Chari Madabhushi a Warrior Mom and resident of ICS-Bhosalenagar

She further added that as a mother, the best gift that she can give her children is a smoke-free, breathe-easy Diwali. “I am happy to see that most of the people in my circle believe the same. It is time we learn with our kids, how to celebrate our festivals the right way,” said Hema.

Dr Arvind Kumar of Lung Care Foundation and Doctors for Clean Air said that in our zeal to celebrate a festival, we must not take our lungs for granted. “Bursting of firecrackers leads to a substantial increase in PM 2.5 levels. It is a very serious health hazard, not just for humans, but even for animals and birds. We simply cannot afford to lose our guard, now that the country is reeling under the onslaught of COVID-19, which doesn’t have a cure or a vaccine yet,” he said adding that air pollution can increase the chances of COVID deaths.

Sumaira Abdulali, Convenor of Mumbai based Awaaz Foundation said that several crackers tested this year in Mumbai, which is also commonly sold across India contain toxic chemicals like Sulphur, Potassium, Barium that are listed under the Hazardous Chemicals Rules. “The smoke released when these firecrackers are burst contains these chemicals and these toxic chemicals can independently cause serious adverse health impacts, especially on respiratory health and worsen the effects of other respiratory diseases like Covid 19,” she said.

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