Friday, May 27 2022

aesthetic and safe

The celebration of the New Year has its specialty for different peoples and communities according to their climates and cultures. Especially since the year is also different: some have their lunar calendar and others their solar calendar. Thus, the Gregorian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, replacing the Julian calendar — both based on geocentric theory, to adjust for minor differences for annual accounts became acceptable for most countries of the world. Naturally, in a global village, the celebration of this widely used New Year has some typical characteristics and common characters.
One of them is fireworks. Since New Years is counted from midnight and the clock goes past 12 p.m., the celebration also begins with the night sky displaying spectacular fireworks displays. In the western world, there are famous places of celebration like Times Square in New York, South Bank in London. In Australia, Sydney Harbor is known for the most spectacular fireworks displays and their neighbor the Tasman Sea also makes the Auckland sky as spectacular as it gets. The capitals and other cities of the western world and other continents including Asia also staged their striking fireworks shows.
Originally invented in China, it is still the monopoly of this country. It is the largest producer and exporter of fireworks in the world. Low explosive pyrotechnic devices are best suited to set up a beautiful, aesthetic and colorful air show. No wonder, the sports and games competitions including the Olympic are incomplete without fireworks.
With its increasingly strong economy, Bangladesh is unlikely to lag behind on this point. When a national or international sports tournament is held here, these fireworks follow international standards by maintaining disciplines such as time, number of fireworks to be mounted and duration of the show. But on other occasions — some of them not meant for firecrackers — like the celebration of Victory Day and Independence Day, there is no grab bar. Recently there is a growing tendency to detonate firecrackers in this capital any day, youngsters or anyone.
Firecrackers are indeed a nuisance because the noise pollution they cause is a direct risk for patients and people with congenitally weaker heart conditions. Perhaps the most outrageous is celebrating an occasion with firecrackers, especially a religious one like Sha-e-Barat, when people are praying. While firecrackers primarily produce thundering sounds of different decibels, and not a fire display, firecrackers produce sound, light, and smoke.
This year, when the western world for the most part canceled such New Year’s Eve fireworks and rallies, the capital of Bangladesh opted for a frenzied demonstration and celebration. The difference between unregulated fireworks and regulated fireworks has been lost on revelers. In addition, the hot air balloon flight of what is called fanus or air lantern by the thousands lit up the city sky in a strange spectacle.
Although the open celebration was small, there was no shortage of rooftop celebrations. No one paid attention to the authority’s request not to detonate firecrackers and to limit fireworks. It is the archaic distribution of the country’s wealth that is to blame for this kind of senseless waste of money. It was concluded that a fireworks display of modest capacity costs 2,200 Tk. In a country where millions of people have been literally impoverished by the effects of the pandemic, such protests are an affront to conscience. Yet there were several rooftops from which dozens or dozens of firecrackers were sent skyward. With deafening sounds, they ascended to send colorful flames and sparks all around. All this lasted no less than an hour.
Now there is no estimate of the capital’s total spending on firecrackers and fireworks. But it is probably a staggering amount. What is intriguing is that a few days after the New Year’s Eve celebration, firecrackers still assault people’s ears at night. Well, people need entertainment, but not in violation of the rules and the discipline. A child with congenital heart weakness and a fissure is believed to have died on New Year’s Day. Doctors suspect that the impact of booming sound was too great for the child. The celebration pokes fun at the elderly, babies, patients and people with weaker hearts.
Likewise, the destination of the air lanterns was not unknown to anyone. They could land anywhere and pose a fire hazard. In fact, the lanterns caused fires in 10 locations, which justified the emergency fire department to extinguish them in at least two incidents.
The thing that should not escape attention is the less spectacular display of the sky over Dhaka compared to the capitals of West or East Asia. The fireworks here are not as aesthetically elaborate as those used in a disciplined manner by the authorities. The New Year’s celebration has come to stay. It would therefore be wise to have a regulated signage in a place designated by the city authorities instead of allowing it to be free for all. Some countries have also introduced silent fireworks which make a spectacular show but no sound. It may be an option for Dhaka and other towns or villages here.


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