HYDERABAD : Firecrackers generate aerosols. With Covid-19 pandemic on, it is feared bursting of crackers will become a medium for SARS-Cov 2 to transmit wider and possibly infect people. It is thus recommended that only crackers that generate lesser smoke be used for Diwali 2020.
Armed Forces, in their internal advisory to all officers, have advised against use of loud, different-coloured-smoke emitting firecrackers, as they could spread virus and threaten life. They are also in favour of crackers that emanate minimal smoke.
Medical fraternity is of opinion that not just firecrackers, burning of leaves and municipal waste must also be avoided during winter months. They point out that there is a direct link between these activities and increase in air pollution, which compromises health and aggravates wellbeing of those who are immune compromised.
Particulate matters and poisonous gases like nitrogen dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds lead to acute respiratory distress among senior citizens, particularly those with diseases like asthma and respiratory allergies.
Pulmonologist Dr. Ramana Prasad of KIMS Hospital says, “In winters, aerosols and suspended particulate matter in air can act as carriers of Coronavirus. Since the virus is airborne, heavy concentration of these particles in air will speed up their transmission. For this reason, all aerosol-generating activities are a risk factor during the pandemic.”
Aerosol generating behaviours include coughing, sneezing, talking loudly, screaming, shouting and singing loudly.
Particulate matter 2.5 level recorded in Hyderabad on Tuesday was 160, which could be due to burning of leaves and municipal waste. Telangana Pollution Control Board officials have asked Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation to alert residents about not burning any waste. A senior board official said, “Our vehicles are recording high levels of pollution during early morning hours, as there is burning of waste. These levels are high in winter, which leads to increased levels of pollution continuing during non-peak hours too.”