PERMIT me a space to vent my frustration about the indiscriminate and illegal use of fireworks to celebrate the auspicious festival of light, Diwali, a celebration of good over evil, a celebration of light over darkness.
Editor, the science is clear. Animals have far advanced hearing capacity than humans. Humans can hear sounds that fall between the range of 20 Hz to 20 KHz while that of a dog is somewhat between 40 Hz to 60 kHz. The hearing range of cats extends from 48 Hz to 85 kHz, giving it one of the broadest hearing ranges among mammals. Bats sound sensitivity ranges from less than 100 Hz to 200 KHz. What this simply translates to is that, as humans, we have one of the lowest hearing ranges on the sound spectrum and last night’s explosion was loud to us. We can only imagine what those scared animal were hearing.
Editor, what transpired on Diwali night is nothing short of a national tragedy. Imagine, as humans, we were forced to endure hours of loud, war-like explosions emanating from these “bombs”. Animals, with their more advanced hearing, were thrown into a state of panic.
Many animals attempted to flee the explosions and ended up on the road, the outcome, tragic. Many more tried hiding in their homes, panicking, with elevated respiration and heartbeat; trembling and inconsolable. Some, in their attempt to escape the barrage of explosions, attempted to scale fences and jumped out of windows, only to end up with injuries and death. Some even died of heart failure due to panic attacks.
Wild animals were not spared of this horrendous ordeal. Birds and bats met a tragic end in their bid to seek shelter from this apocalyptic bombing in the name of celebration.
The human folks also had to endure the wrath of these explosions. The elderly, the sick, babies and persons suffering from post-traumatic syndromes suffered while a few had their “fun”.
Historically, Diwali is intended to celebrate light over darkness. Many Hindus consider Diwali to be a fresh start, similar to the Lunar New Year in January. Many people clean, renovate and decorate their homes in anticipation of blessing from the Devine Mother Lakshmi. Diwali is also a time to settle debts and make peace with family, friends and neighbours.
Editor, the laws of Guyana are clear when it comes to the importation, sale, possession and use of pyrotechnics. It is a banned product. Then why are we still seeing the wanton sale, possession and use of same? Fireworks were being sold in full view of the public and the relevant authorities simply didn’t care.
Editor, there is no known benefits when it comes to the use of fireworks to celebrate. On the contrary there are multitudes of disadvantages using them. Let me highlight a few.
– Illegal use of fireworks can be dangerous to you and to others and is a public nuisance.
– People who use fireworks carelessly, or without knowing what they’re doing can be killed or maimed. They can also kill or maim others.
– Fireworks can burn down houses, cause fires, frighten children and adults, and terrify pets and wildlife.
– Noise from fireworks can cause distress, especially as fireworks can sound like gunfire. The noise can also cause tinnitus and deafness, or aggravate a nervous condition.
– People who suffer from asthma can experience discomfort and epileptics can experience seizures following fireworks displays.
– Money spent on purchasing fireworks can be more meaningfully used to purchase a household item, feed the homeless or stray or it can be saved.
Christmas is around the corner and I can only imagine what awaits us if this asininity goes unchecked. I am hereby making a desperate plea to all right-thinking Guyanese to immediately stop the use of loud explosives as a form of celebration. Parents, do not encourage your children with the use of fireworks. Religious leaders, use your authority to encourage your followers to be considerate during their celebrations. To the police, I know your hands are filled but I beg of you not to turn a blind eye to this scourge.
As a nation we are judged by the way we treat animals, the elderly, the homeless and children. Let us use the tragedy that occurred on Diwali night to reflect on the true meaning of Diwali.
Tails of Hope-Animal Rescue