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Permit me a space to re-share this letter 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. Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is supposed to be a symbol of peace and hope: not terror.
With this missive, I am attempting to dissuade my countrymen from using fireworks to celebrate, much to the discomfort of the multitudes; both humans and animals alike.
Editor, the science is clear: animals have hearing capacities that are far advanced to that of humans. Humans can hear sounds that fall between the range of 20Hz and 20KHz, while the hearing capacity of a dog is somewhat between 40Hz and 60 kHz. The hearing range of a cat extends from 48Hz to 85kHz, giving it one of the broadest hearing ranges among mammals. Bats’ sound sensitivity ranges from less than 100Hz to 200KHz. What this simply translates to is that, as humans, we have one of the lowest hearing ranges on the sound spectrum. However we hear fireworks, animals hear it as much as 3 times louder. I beg of you to imagine their trauma.
Imagine, as humans, we will be forced to endure hours of loud, war-like explosions emanating from these “bombs”. Animals, with their more advanced hearing capacities, are usually thrown into a state of panic. Many attempt to flee the explosions and end up on the roadways, with the outcome being tragic. Many more hid in their homes, panicking, their respiration and heartbeat elevated even as they trembled and were inconsolable. Some, in their attempt to escape the barrage of explosions, attempt to scale fences and jump out of windows, only to end up being injured or dead. Some even die of heart failure, due to panic attacks.
Wild animals are not spared this horrendous ordeal. Birds and bats meet tragic ends in their respective bids to seek shelter from this apocalyptic bombing, carried out in the name of celebration.
Humans, the elderly, the young, the sick and those suffering from PTSD have to endure the effects of these explosions while the selfish few have 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 Divine Mother Lakshmi. Diwali is also a time to settle debts and make peace with family members, friends and neighbours.
When it comes to the Christmas season, every year, around the world, people celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day, 25 December. It’s a day – and season – filled with Christmas carols, tree decorating, gift-giving and parties. Because Christmas is about the birth of God’s Son – Jesus. It is about how he came to give us love, hope and joy; not to cause terror and trauma to the living.
Editor, the laws of Guyana are clear in relation to the importation, sale, possession and use of pyrotechnics. They are banned products, yet we continue to see the wanton sale; possession, and use of same, not only at Diwali, but around the festive season of Christmas also. Editor, there are no known benefits to be derived from the use of fireworks to celebrate. On the contrary, there are multitudes of disadvantages in 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 strays, or be saved for some other use.
I am hereby making a desperate appeal to all Guyanese to immediately stop the use of loud explosives as a form of celebration. Parents, do not encourage your children to use fireworks. Religious leaders, use your authority to encourage your followers to be considerate of all things living during their celebrations. Police officials, I know your hands are filled, but I beg 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.
Tails of Hope – Animal Rescue.
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