All of us have a right to experience the tranquility and natural ambience of places where no man made sounds pierce the ears, where the air is still fresh, water is still clear, and garbage dumps have not overpowered the natural smells of the seas, the mountains, the pines or the wild flowers. Yet, with this right comes the responsibility of ensuring the safeguard of that environment and the rights of the wild life of that area.
Point Claimer in Tamil Nadu with gulls on the shores, the handsome brown and white kites overhead, egrets on the water edge and flamingoes flapping their wings revealing pink and orange feathers underneath, would be a dream holiday of most of us.
The riot of colour created on the mountains by Rhododendrons at Singba sanctuary in Sikkim is an experience all would like to have. Who would not like to see, the Red Panda in its natural habitat of bamboo forests of Singlala National Park some 50 km from Darjeeling.
Saharan in Himachal Pradesh, 177 kms from Simla has a setting that only the gods could have created. It is the base for Himachal Pradesh finest treks. Far below the valley tumbles river Sutlej. Across lie the snow-covered peaks of Shri Khand. Fields, orchards, small villages, thick forests and fast-flowing streams and presence of Bhimakali temple, would be a paradise for any one getting away from the humdrum of the city life.
Lakshdeep group of islands surrounded by coral reefs, with deep coconut jungles, crystal clear sea and virgin beaches where turtles come to lay eggs on full moon nights is a sight that should be experienced by all.
We have 75 National Parks and 421 Sanctuaries covering 140,675.46 Sq.Km. area (about 4.2%) of the total geographic area. Whether it is Manas Sanctuaries of India and Bhutan, Bharat Pur in Rajasthan, Gir National Park of Gujarat, Dhudwa National Park of Uttar Pradesh, Sultanpuri of Haryana or Asola Bhatti Sanctuary of Delhi we have to conserve and respect all life forms and their habitat by being eco-tourist. Here are some suggestions:
Fetch a brief on the ecological characteristics of the region you wish to visit along with do’s and don’ts of viewing wildlife either from your tour operator or tourism department.
Stay at lodges or camps which are designed to harmonize with existing environment.
Check that the place you stay in has its own soak ways and septic tanks, so that the sewage and wastewater is not let loose in the open, but to prevent any contamination the soak way and septic tank must not be with in 10m of the water supply system.
To view wildlife prefer ‘hides’ then game drives.
All biodegrables must be deposited in a pit dug for this purpose. The pit should be protected so that animals do not fall into the pit.
Use phosphate free detergents and see to it that all laundry water passes through the soak way.
Bring back all the recyclables if you take packed food stuff along or buy from there.
Use only those battery cells which have long life and are rechargeable thus would not be discarded during travels.
Never create noise, air, and water or soil pollution and stop others from doing that.
If at the end of your stay, your respect for other life forms has increased then you have become a eco-tourist.
Be Aware of Holi Colors !
Almost all colors available during Holi are concoctions of chemicals thus toxic, allergic and carcinogenic. Any one can come
up with natural and attractive soft, and good for skin colors. All that is needed is a visit to a forest,a garden and a kitchen to collect leaves,
seeds, bark of trees, flowers, fruits and peels.
The 6 steps to make your own colors are:
Dry the color source in shade.
Powder the dried material coarsely.
Soak the powder in water for 30 minutes.
Boil this water for 45 minutes to an hour.
Cool it, filter it and keep it till you want to use it.
Dry the residue in shade. Powder it finely and this becomes the dry holi color, ready to be used.
Chemical Holi Colors
If however you still prefer the colors from the market then please remember that all three categories –Pastes,
Dry powders and Wet colors have health hazards. The most dangerous however are the pastes.Silver, Gold, Metallic,
Green, Blue and Black pastes available in the market are all extremely dangerous. The cost varies from rupees 5 to
rupees 50per tin containing 100 grams of the mixed paste.
The colorants are also available in small pouches which can be mixed in any type of oil
or water depending upon weather it has to be used as a paste or wet color by the user.
Cost of these pouches is from rupees 2 to rupees 10.
When you smear someone ared in pink, you actually daubed someone with Rhodamine B,
if the color is violet or blue it actually is Methyl Violet, green is Malachite Green and
yellow is Auramine. All these are prohibited under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
The two components of Dry Powders are Base and the Colourant. Depending upon the
quality of Holi Powder the base can be Asbestos Talc, Chalk or Cornstarch. All will adversely affect us.
Chemical and their health hazards
||Engine oil + Lead Oxide
||Engine oil +Copper Sulphate
||Eye allergy, puffiness and temporary blindness
||Engine oil + Aluminium bromide
||Engine oil + Perssian Blue
||Engine oil + Mercury Sulphite
||Highly Toxic Skin cancer
In addition pure coal tar, discarded diesel
oil and greese are also used as Holi rubs. To clear the skin of all
these rubs keriosine oil is the most commonly used remover.
Re-kindle the Original Holi Spirit
A festival intended to commemorate the conventional historic triumph of good over evil has been transmutated over time, assisted by a strong element
of mass-ignorance, ironically, to what seems to be the reciprocated dominance of evil (in the form of chaotically aggressive unruliness) over good
(a happy, colorful yet peaceful celebration). The unobtrusive, incurrence, eye pleasing
natural colors have been replaced by a multitude of toxic, carcinogenic-hazardous, eye-irritating (even to the point of blindness) chemical ‘colors’.
Make your own colors
Dry colors have two components. Base and Colorant. The natural bases can be made from the following:
Grounded Orange peels, Lemon Peels, Sandal Wood, Rose Water.
Natural colors can even be made at home without much toil and effort.
Given below is a list of natural colors (along with their sources) and natural bases.
We can thus make our own natural colors by mixing these colors with the bases.
Natural products and their Colors :
1. Saffron - Brilliant yellow
2. Turmeric - Yellow & Orange Brown
3. Henna - Orange Red
4. Manjistha - Rust Red
5. Katha - Brown
6. Beet Root - Magenta
7. Indigo - Rich Blue
8. Chlorophyll - Green
Here are the colors for people who do not understand science:
1. Mix a spoon of powdered haldi in a cup of flour (atta/besan/maida), talcum powder for yellow color, which is also great for your skin. Haldi powder can also be mixed in water to make a wet color.
2. Use henna/mehandi powder, separately or mixed with flour (as above).
3. Chopped pieces of Beet root soaked in water for a few hours give a wonderful magenta color.
4. Put tea or coffee in warm water. Let it cool and use.
5. Put flowers of Semul/ Tesu or Palas/ Dhak (tree which are common in India and bloom during March) in water and boil. Leave overnight to obtain a saffron color.
6. Mix lime (chuna which is put in leaves) with haldi powder to get a deep red color.
The above are just a few ways to make natural colors. Ask your parents and grandparents for more! Experiment with different seasonal flowers
(like marigold, harshingar), fruits & vegetables (grapes, spinach, rind of pomegranate), leaves (eucalyptus) and explore the fascinating word of natural colors.
A cottage industry be setup, generating harmless natural colors to replace the current toxin laden and thus aid an attempt to resurrect yet another
rigor-mortified festival. The introduction of natural colors should be supplemented by a complete ban on the current colors in market,
heavy in concentrations of Sudan Red, Metanil Yellow, Melachile Green and Salts of metals like lead, chromium, mercury, etc.
Gulal Aspiration: A Festival Hazard!
Bajaj Monika, MD Kumar Viredra,
MD Malik Iqbal, Ph.D. Arora Praveeen, MD Dubey N K,
From: The Department of Pediatrics, Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital,
Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi And
Vatavaran (NGO- Working on socio-environmental Issues)
The inhalation of noxious chemical substances and heavy metals is a known cause of chemical pneumonitis
and acute as well as chronic lung injury. Occupational exposure is more often a cause for the same. However,
significant exposure to chemical may occur due to accidental inhalation during domestic activities, hobbies,
and festivals (1,2). We report here a case of accidental “gulal” aspiration during Holi festival.
A previously well, six year old boy, presented with sudden onset of cough and respiratory distress following accidental aspiration
of “gulal” during Holi festival. He was treated for one day at a nearby private hospital, before being referred to Kalawati Saran
Children’s Hospital, New Delhi.
On arrival, patient was conscious but excessively irritable and had marked respiratory distress. His heart rate was 140 beats per
minute, respiratory rate 96 breaths per minute, with marked intercostals and subcostal recession, but there was no cyanosis.
Blood pressure was 100/70 mm Hg. On auscultation of chest, air entry was markedly diminished with bilateral ronchi. Clinical examination
of other system was unremarkable.
Investigations revealed hemoglobin – 13 gm/dl, TCL-24000cells/Cmm with 66% polymorphs, blood urea-59 mg/dl, serum creatinine – 0.5 mg/dl,
serum Na+ - mEq/L, serum K+ -5.36 mEq/L. Chest X-ray revealed bilateral patchy pneumonitis especially involving right middle and lower zones.
Arterial bloods gas analysis revealed pH- 7.365, pO2 58.2 pCO2 –49.6, HCO3-20.4, O2 saturation –88.7%.
Patient was treated symptomatically with humidified oxygen, intravenous fluids, and salbutamol and ipratropium bromide nebulisations.
He was stared on I/V hydrocortisone (10 mg/Kg/day), crystalline penicillin (2 lac IL/Kg/day) and chloromycetin (100 mg/Kg/day) in divided doses.
Due to clinical suspicion of supper-added infection, antibiotics were changed to I/V cerftriazone (100 mg/Kg/day) and netilmycin (7.5 mg/Kg/day)
on day three. Special attention was given to chest physiotherapy, and 3% saline nebulisation was given to encourage expectoration and removal of
aspirated substance from the repiratory tract.
On day four the patient developed subcutaneous emphysema over chest and neck. Repeat chest X-ray showed bilateral extensive pneumonitis and
mediastinal emphysema (Figure-1). Patient however did not require any surgical intervention for the same.
Patient subsequently maintained arterial gas (pH-7.51, pO2-70.5, pCO2-36.4, HCO3-25.6, O2 saturation-94.4%)and improve steadily.
He was discharged after two week of therapy. After stabilization of his respiratory distress, spirometric assessment of pulmonary
function (PFT) revealed severe restricted pattern (FVC- 0.54L, 45.95% of predicted value; FEV1 0.54L, 52.5% of predicted; FEF25-75%-0.68L/sec,
52.32% of predicted). At one month follow up patient was asynptomatic, chest X-ray had normalized, spirometry revealed however continued to show
a restrictive pattern, thought less in severity (FVC- 0.89L, FEV1- 0.89L, FEF25-75%- 1.21L/sec).
Six month later spirometry revealed normalization of pulmonary function (FVC- 1.16L, FEV1- 1.04L, FEF25-75%- 1.45L/sec).
The dangers associated with aspiration of foreign material into the airway have been chronicled in medical literature for over 350 years and airways
foreign bodies continue to be a problem frequently encounted by pediatric practitioners. Foreign body aspiration is most frequent in the 1-5 years age
group, with 85% cases occurring in children less than three years of age.
Item frequently found in the environment of a child, such as nuts, shells, candies, grapes, pears, jewelry, small toys etc.
are the ones that pose a risk for entering and occluding the airway. Aspiration of powder like substances expect for talcum powder
and soot in burn injury, are less frequently encountered in children.
Gulal, a seemingly innocuous powder substance has been traditionally used, to smear over face during the festival of Holi,
since ancient time. Environmental experts and doctors are only to aware of the hazards of these innocent looking colors, namely
triggering of skin allergies, impairment of vision, precipitation of asthmatic attacks etc. this is for the first time, that we
encountered a child with massive aspiration and restrictive pulmonary disease due to gulal.
In our case, the gulal could not be procured and no attempt had been made at bronchoscopic aspiration and of the material
aspirated, in view of the extreme sickness of child and delay in arrival to our hospital after the incident. Chemical nature of the
same is therefore difficult child to comment upon. However, one may hypothesize, that lung injury is caused both by the physical i.e.
powdery, nature of the substance as well as heavy metals, chemicals and hydrocarbons that go into the preparation of these colors.
Powder like consistency of the gulal, result in it being drawn into distal airways almost instantly like in the case of any other
powder and this probably causes acute respiratory distress, obstruction, atelecatesis, hyperinflation, and air-leak. With the help
of a non-government organization (Vatavaran), chemical analysis of different sample of used during Holi was done. Summery of that is
shown in table-1. It seems possible that the material aspirated by this child, had traces of lead and mercury. Review of literature
revealed case report of mercury inhalation injury, which presented in similar manner with respiratory distress, Air-leak and restrictive lung disease (3).
We managed our patient symptomatically. Systematic steroids have been used but without definite role to reduce inflammatory
process and fibrosis in chemical pneumonitis (4). They have of late proven to be of benefit in patients with mercury induced acute
lung injury (4). In our patient, they may have benefited by reducing airways inflammation as well bronchospasm.
Air-lack can occur in cases of chemical pneumonitis especially those resulting from hydrocarbons aspiration or mercury
vapor inhalation (5). Conservative management is advocated for the same, and patients usually improve, as was witnessed in our case too.