Diwali is here and it is time for family get-togethers and parties. The house is cleaned and decorated with lights, the Ganesh-Lakshmi idols are bought, and tons of sweets are prepared. These are all different facets of Diwali. However, have we ever stopped to think how detrimental all this indulgence is to our environment?  With the changing time, the style of celebrating Diwali has also changed drastically. Now Diwali celebrations mean electric illumination and bursting noisy firecrackers. This change in the celebration style has imposed many negative effects on the environment. Besides these environmental effects, the modern style of celebrating Diwali also leads to various health hazards. The noise of bombs is quite deafening and it also has a very bad effect on animals. It is possible to have Diwali without crackers or at least we can try and reduce the amount and do our bit for our environment. Most Fireworks are made by factories which employ children as laborers. These young children are forced to handle the toxic substances that go into these crackers. As a result, they contract diseases associated with these substances. It is hard to digest the fact that due to lack of medical aid, many of these children do not live beyond their teenage years. But this is absolutely true.

Several pets get lost or meet with road accidents during Diwali. It’s because of noise from crackers, and even the sight of fire, scares them, especially dogs. They generally try to hide under the bed or in the wardrobe. But if they are very disturbed, they may bite people.

Tips to help your pet cope with fireworks

Take your dog for a good walk during the day before fireworks start being let off.

Keep your pets inside when fireworks are going off. Never walk them or leave them outside when fireworks are going off. Keep windows shut and curtains drawn to mask sounds and flashes from fireworks.

Do not comfort your dog/cat if he/she is showing fearful behavior as this may actually reinforce the behavior. Act normally, as if there is nothing at all to be afraid of and reward your pet when they are calm and not looking afraid.

Provide your pet with a suitable safe place where he can hide and do not disturb him when he goes into this area.

Your pet could manage to flee due to the fear caused by the noise of crackers. So make your pet wear a name tag with your phone number on it so that someone can bring them back to you.

Care for the strays too!

Not everyone has a blast during Diwali. For those thousands of stray dogs on the streets of India, it’s no less than an apocalypse. The atrocities kids and young boys subject them to for their own ‘fun’ leaves them burned, grievously injured and sometimes limbless.

This Diwali follows these tips to keep the strays around you safe:

Do not tease them by tying crackers in their tails. If you see anyone doing this, make them STOP!

Do not let anyone throw lit crackers on/at them.

Make sure that whoever is about to light a cracker, first let the stray animals move safely away either through coaxing or gentle talk. Startled and induced with fear, they may run into the traffic and get injured.

Bring to the notice of local/concern authorities, in case you find an injured animal in your locality or on the road. Help any animals on the road into your garden or garage and give them food and water.

Volunteer with a shelter home for stray animals and help them with any emergencies.

Celebrating Diwali does not mean completely giving up the things you love. However, it is time to go back to the traditional Diwali Celebrations of the past. Not only will you be helping to save the environment but also you will understand better the true meaning of Diwali.

So how about bringing in a positive change this time, which will help people around as well? Let’s celebrate Noise and pollution free Diwali.

An Animal lover by heart is known as the dog & cat lady, who is working in the HR department of Mindtree LTD, Tanmayi Lonkar has a deep passion towards Animals. She is an animal Activist and actively participates in the Animal welfare, adoption and Rescue activities. Tanmayi is also passionate about dance and is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer.