South Africa Re-invents Diwali to Suit Climate Change

Fireworks mark the auspicious Diwali occasion. The event celebrated later this month (October), is likely to experience changes. This is in favor of the environment. Contrary to past events, this year’s Diwali might come with new rules. Due to the risks associated with fireworks, the environment is always at stake. For instance, fires can occur, animals, as well as people, can be injured. Therefore, Hindus in Durban and Cape Town must adhere to these new rules. South Africa re-invents Diwali to suit climate change. It, as well, brings peace in the community. JP Smith, a mayoral committee member for safety and security, urged people to stay away from setting up fireworks. “Given that there will be no designated sites this year, the City appeals to residents to please refrain from setting off fireworks,” he said.

“Historically, animals have suffered long at the expense of humans with fireworks in South Africa. We hope that the rest of the country will follow suit with this bold move by the City of Cape Town,” he added.

The first-ever green Diwali Festival

Organizers and stake-holders have planned a festival that is environmental-friendly. They want to come up with ways to observe the Hindu celebration in a safe manner. According to one organizer, Dr. Sanil Singh, a veterinarian by profession, the festival was all about bringing people together. “Instead of Diwali creating division over fireworks, we looked for a way to promote social cohesion and sustainable living. This is by bringing people together in a safe space,” he said. He added that not caring for others was anti-Hindu. “In fact, it is being pro-Hindu by going back to the original scriptures and the core message of the triumph of light over darkness.”

Local Historian Naidoo views

He said, “Climate change is real and we each have a responsibility to stop polluting the air, the soil, and the oceans. “Naidoo noted that the unpleasant climate the planet is facing needs to be addressed courageously. “If need be, we will join in the court action. We must say that when the rest of the world is going green, Hindus should not be going either way,” he added.

Together with the City of Cape Town, Durban City decided to ban any designated sites for fireworks. All celebrations including Guy Fawkes, Diwali, and New Year’s Eve, will not be marked by the use of fireworks. However, the Hindu community raised complaints. Consequently,  the City backed its decision. “While many have welcomed the decision to not have the designated sites, individuals within the Hindu community have expressed their dissatisfaction with the impact this will have on  Diwali later this month,” said JP Smith, a mayoral member for safety and security. South Africa re-invents Diwali to suit climate change at such a critical time.

Change of the decision

However, JP Smith announced a change in the previous decision. To respect the Hindu cultural tradition, the City had set aside the parking lot at the Athlone Stadium for Diwali Celebrations. Similarly, he said that the City had not banned the use of fireworks. It’s because this is only the mandate of the national government. Contrary to this view, fireworks should be used when a permit is obtained. This will help in organized fireworks displays. “The Explosive Act is very strict about the importing and use of fireworks. However, we have a problem with illegal fireworks imports, sale, and detonation, particularly in Cape Town between October and January annually,” said Smith.

Related: Mayors Agree To Work With Youth Climate Activist To Achieve Global Green New Deal.


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