A month to go before the entire city (and the country) will wake up to lights and fire crackers, celebrating one of the most important festivals in India. Usually celebrated on the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin (October/November) every year, Diwali is a festival of lights and enlightenment. The festival symbolizes an age-old culture of India that signifies the wiping out of ignorance which subdues humanity and driving away of darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge.
In Delhi, Diwali festivities begin right from Dussehra. People set out on a month long preparation to welcome the festival of light with shopping, spring-cleaning, whitewashing and redecorating jobs. Sales and promotional offers make the market even more attractive during the festival season. Joining our readers and people in the city in their fun-filled and exciting preparatory mode, we would like to bring to everyone’s notice an important factor to be considered while renovating or redecorating houses.
It is a well known fact that lead is an environmental pollutant. Lead exposure can occur from contact with lead in air, household dust, soil, water, and commercial products. Some lead compounds include bright colours and are used widely in paints. And this lead paint is a major source of lead exposure for children. Deteriorating lead paint can lead to dangerous lead levels in household dust and soil. Deteriorating lead paint and lead-containing household dust are the main causes of chronic lead poisoning.
Removing lead paint from dwellings, e.g. by sanding or torching can create lead-containing dust and fumes and hence special precautions must be taken when removing lead paint. Lead-based paint is most likely to be found on window frames, doors, skirting boards, kitchen and bathroom cupboards, exterior walls, gutters, metal surfaces and fascias. It can also be found on interior walls, ceilings and areas with enamel paint. Pink and red primer both contain lead, so you should think twice before disturbing any surface which has had any of these paints applied.
If you plan to renovate your house or paint it new this Diwali, you should be aware of all the hazards involved and take precautions to avoid any damage to health. If old paint is not handled properly, lead dust and paint chips can remain in the homes or on the garden years after the work is completed. Paint removal by blasting, burning, dry scraping, dry sanding and using power tools creates the most serious dangers because the particles are small enough to be inhaled or deposited in furnishings or carpet, making complete removal extremely difficult.
Starting with the simplest way is to be certain that your paint does not contain lead by getting it tested. Make sure that only an experienced worker repaints the house and get an expert’s recommendation while choosing the options of paint and its applications. Let the diyas you light up this Diwali truly be a symbol of your doing away with ignorance and overcoming darkness with knowledge.
Also, with the threat of climate change looming large, it is but a wise decision and step to celebrate Diwali in the most eco-friendly manner. India should lit up the light of wisdom on being environmental friendly and demonstrate it to the world through such an important and auspicious festival as Diwali.
Let the world witness India wiping out ignorance on environmental hazards and light up commitments to a safer and healthier Planet…Enjoy and have a blast welcoming the festival of lights this Diwali!
Image courtesy Milind Patil