This is a horizontal confederation of twelve organizations (Sparks)  and eight Advisors, determined to reach out , make a difference and work to take our country to its pristine existence .

Flagship Projects

Boond Se Sagar


Mahima Bobin
boondsesagar@gmail.com



Boond Se Sagar is a flagship project to help the needy during the time of crisis. Our aim might seem lofty, but we have set out with the greatest determination to eliminate destitution from the lives of people.
The lowest strata of our society work tirelessly day and night, hustling through multiple odd jobs, just to be able to provide for their basic needs. Boond Se Sagar will provide entrepreneurial opportunities in which the worker will get directly linked with the consumer, eliminating all midlemen. It also strives to provide assistance, in the form of ration kits, basic necessities for both humans and strays and non-human primates.

Sparks

1. The Clean Team


Raj Kumar, Surjit Kumar, Rakesh Mohan
rajkumar27021971@gmail.com
surjeetkumar81077@gmail.com
rakeshgagada@gmail.com


Over 80 waste collectors (semi literate or illiterate, living in shanties of Rangpuri Pahari, Mahipalpur, Kusumpur Pahari, Kishen Garh and Mehrauli) serving 4000 middle-income households and 4 local market formed their own organization- The Clean Team. They decided the logo, the colours, the uniforms and the tag line (Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan forward in an honest way). Their mission is upkeep of the colony they work in.Fifty-four of them collect door-to-door garbage (90% segregated & 10 % mixed), bio compost it, collect recyclables, sweep colony roads, mop stairs and keep the area clean. Rest 26 keep 800 offices, 200 restaurants, shops and 60 washrooms of three floored 4 local markets neat and tidy.

How you can help?

  • Adopt a team of 5 team members so they can get the minimum wages of Rs 16000/- a month.
  • Adopt a team of 10 team members so they can be given the minimum wages of Rs 16000/- a month.
  • Donate so the 80 team members get at least minimum wages of Rs 16000/- a month.
  • Donate or provide uniforms, shoes, caps, gloves, and facemasks to as many boys as possible.
  • Donate or provide as many ‘Home Composters’ as possible.
  • Volunteers to talk to residents not segregating at home.
  • Volunteer to take orientation programs.
  • Volunteer to write to Hans Foundation to get donations for all of the above.

2. ASHI Foundation


Dr.Anjila Gugnani Director
anjila.g@gmail.com
MadhuAggarwal Incharge Anna Nagar Work
Ashi.fss19@gmail.com
9999903580


ASHI is one of the oldest voluntary organisation in the country, established in 1928.It aims to 'empower women and children' from the marginalised section of society through its programs in education and health . Anna Nagar is one of the three urban slums where ASHI has non formal education centers for children and an ongoing project of 'cleaning and greening Anna Nagar'. Awareness campaigns by the students, installation of two-colored trash barrels at regular intervals worked till the installations started getting unearthed and stolen. To overcome that Bio Composters are placed in the library and students bring green garbage. During Greening operations saplings of Indigenous tree species were collected from the nursery of forest department for joint plantation by children, women, men and elderly. It was a success, till the land mafia trampled the healthy young trees with vehicles. So, for reasons beyond any one’s control even after repeated trials nothing is sustaining. Strategic thinking is required now.

How you can help?

  • Volunteer time for the development of Anna Nagar.
  • Enroll for the next ‘Green Anna Nagar’ cycle.
  • Donate garbage cans that are non plastic and non steal able.
  • Donate in kind or cash for community composters.

3. Arpan Centre for Children with Multiple Disabilities

www.saathire.com
Dr. Jayant Sastri
sastryjayant@yahoo.in
Dr. Rashmi Kakar
kakarrashmi@gmail.com


Started in 1993 this diagnostic and development centre is for children with multiple or intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, attention deficit, hyperactivity, Down syndrome & Autism to help with cognitive, motor speech stimulation, play, sensory integration, physiotherapy, vocational rehabilitation & computer literacy.This trans-disciplinary approach helps in language, educational, social & vocational development & makes these special children self-reliant. It creates awareness about prevention, early identification, interventions, testing of learning disability, aptitude& scholastic backwardness, undertakes individual and group counseling, rural development, training students in psychology, human development, community sciences & social work for capacity building and resource mobilization. Their awareness programs on ‘Greener Life’ are leaving an impact on the people of Baroda.

How you can help?

  • Becoming a resource person/trainer for their annual day program which starts or ends with a message on ‘leading a greener life’.
  • Join the team of volunteers who help in story telling and rhymes sessions.
  • Students with psychology, human development, community sciences and social work departments to contact Arpan and get educational training and course curriculum.
  • Donate for infrastructure , buses , equipment’s and more staff.

4. Bluebells International

www.bluebellsinternational.com
Ms. Suman Kumar
suman.kumar@bluebellsinternational.com
Ms. Barnali Ganguly
barnali94.97@gmail.com


Bluebells International school founded by an all rounder lady with a vision - ‘Students First’ is a platform for children - our future citizens to unfold their potentials, makes them think, imagine, empathies and create the wonderful imagery of their minds. It is a proud recipient of The Green School Award by AL Gore in 2019.As a Spark it is a leader in hand made paper recycling. Its first of its kind approach is to save the earth through handmade paper route.Its three prong approach is to make students use hand made paper, help as many as possible schools to have handmade paper making units and helping students become entrepreneurs for recycled paper by innovating constantly in making paper and its products,capacity building and marketing.

How you can help?

  • Donate paper for recycling.
  • Donate time at the recycling room for the various tasks related to paper recycling.
  • Hand made paper products innovators to share their skills and hold workshops with students and staff.
  • Become their ambassadors.

5. Canine Pawsitive


Bala Chandaran
balacnambiar@gmail.com


One thing common in this group of compassionate people led by a renowned journalist is their love for mongrels - so deep that they call them their children. For years they have been feeding, playing and looking after the stray dogs of their area. As a Spark they have organized them selves to carry on doing what they were doing and more.They help their mongrels cope with the vagaries of nature, get them checked, treated, sterilized, exchange stories and discuss the ways of increasing their kind for the benefit of the dogs and humans alike. The posts on their website train masses about stray dog behaviour, understand their body language, increase societal compassion towards strays, making it safer for elderly and children to be around them and benefits of adopting mongrels as pets.

How you can help?

  • Form similar group in your area.
  • Record age and sex ratio, spatial distribution and health conditions of stray dogs.
  • Volunteer your time and resources for getting the animals neuter and sick treated.
  • Intervene against excessive barking, beating, stone pelting and deprival of amenities to the mongrels of your area.
  • Make dog lovers adopt strays instead of wrongly bred Huskies.
  • Train the team of waste collectors of your colony to become primary care takers of stray dogs as they must be friends already.

6. Kailash Foundation


Ms Kadambri Rana
kadambari_rana@yahoo.co.in


The mission of Kailash Foundation is social change through education.Currently Kailash Foundation is extending scholarships to girl students who are identified as capable and meritorious.This scholarship money is from Vatavaran Organisation.To bridge the gap in society it has two programs for the education of girls from lower economic strata. First in which householders are guided so that they take educational responsibility of at -least one girl child of their maid. Second getting training in job related soft skills such as familiarization with communication, spoken English language,legal and financial literacy, workplace protocol, and protection from sexual exploitation, workplace harassment and bullying. Selected girls for any of these programs would have to take an undertaking of educating one more girl. To help schools get good teachers who are in high demand scholarships are given to economically deprived girls to study from primary to post graduation to teacher’s training course. To help all mothers, daughters, sisters become self reliant it sponsors basic course in Self Defence and to enhance their capabilities in helping society it sponsors training in Life Saving Interventions.It also gives scholarships for imparting entry level employability skills to young adult children of families engaged in handling waste, including collection, recycling and reusing.

How you can help?

  • Get free guidance and Start similar exercise with your own maids.
  • Identify girls in the community who fit the criteria to be considered for sponsorship.
  • Do market research to collect data on schools which need teachers and in which subjects.

7. Manjula Concerns

Manjula Jhunjhunwala
mj@jbnss.in
Anuja Srivastva
itzanuja@gmail.com


As a Spark Manjula Concerns stands apart, always ready to learn, innovate, change, expand and help others. Replicable models of closed loop system and innovative primary education are the two of its unique attributes. Their closed loop system starts at their farm,its wastage becomes the raw material for the paper mill and bio-degradable crockery and cutlery. Wastes from paper mill rare converted into innovative raw materials and products making it a zero waste economy. Zero waste loops saves resources thus enhancing greenery, hospitals and life in general.Three kinds of waste from the paper mills are ash, sludge & resin.From ash bricks are made, sludge becomes the bonding material. Together both are used for making houses for the needy. The third waste from the paper mills is Resin used by students learning sculpting. Manjula Concerns primary school is purpose built where children are actively involved in developmentally appropriate hands on activities.This unique, innovative education system and work going on to improve the natural and human conditions in Faisabad can be replicated by innumerable wealthy concerns of the country.

How you can help?

  • Visit Faizabad to understand the working of this Concern.
  • Spread the word.
  • Write about it.
  • Film it.

8. Masti Ki Paathshala and Maatimeet Grameen

www.mastikipaathshala.org/
Gautam Khendalwal
Gautam@mastikipaathshala.org



A democratic learning centre set up in village Agar, Alwar District Rajasthan by an educationist to motivate, provide support, counsel and educate.The founder explored till he found the remotest village and founded Masti ki Paathshala. The going has not been easy but his enthusiasm, cheerful personality and hard work are paying off.The villagers are with him, there is an almost continuous thread of international volunteers and Indian well-wishers.He is moving towards his goals. The informal education is for rural development, solve real life problems, generate employment and revitalize community living . The children are not only well versed with world but better off than their contemporaries in urban settings due to their earthy knowledge. Maatimeet Grameen is its livelihood wing. The women of the area with long colourful gungats have been trained in stitching and are self- sustaining. They pioneered the making of multi pocket Cora bags which are in constant demand. Residents of this village now do not migrate to cities because of the improved family income,constant support and children developing strong foundation.

How you can help?

  • Please forward to all their requirement of a full time job to lead the education program .the person need to be good with art, craft, design etc., have basic knowledge of computers, English and Hindi (written and spoken), patient with children and have the ability to lead a team. Salary –Rs 15k-30k per month plus food and accommodation. Perks- fresh air, stress free life , a warm community, the pride of doing something meaningful.Location –village agar, block thanagazi, district Alwar, Rajasthan.Send CV to Gautam and call him at 9829342882.
  • Visit the place.
  • Popularize their products.

9.Stand N Stride and Nurani Aquaponics

www.standnstride.org/
Amod Poddar
info@standnstride.org
+91-9873924929 , +91-8178165112


Stand N Stride is an NGO in India formed by a group of socially enthusiastic and sensitive people from every walk of life who understand their social responsibility. Stand n Stride is committed to help to all who are not getting equal opportunity to explore their potential due to social and financial discrimination. Our works mainly concentrated in the fields of Holistic education of children and strengthening our youth to expand their wings at their will. We believe these are the areas of greatest need and deserve to be the foci of our attention.

How you can help?

  • By helping us with the basic stationeries like blackboard, mats, chair, notebook, etc.
  • By Helping us in routine expenses like paying rent for study centers and paying teachers.
  • By voulunteering as teachers.


About Nurani Aquaponics

Aquaponics uses the best of all the growing techniques, utilizing the waste of one element to benefit another mimicking a natural ecosystem. Aquaponics refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Kerala state in India has taken a lead in aquaponics. While a village like Kotchi produces greens and fish in its aquaponics, Nurani Aquaponics in a remote village of Kerala is to produce flowers specially temple flowers through this system. This first of its kind venture, a replicable model is adding a new perspective to this beautiful quite village housing prosperous Nambudiri Brahmins and a well organized with a well meaning local body. Nurani has many temples visited by residents every day with fresh flowers, but Nurani is not growing flowers. Truckloads of flowers come every day to this village. This model Aquaponics will harvest flowers in abundance thus eliminating environmental and monetary costs of transportation. Nurani Aquaponics welcomed by the local body to such an extent that its now a community project.

How you can help?

  • Volunteer your time to request Hans Foundation to fund Nurani Aquaponics.
  • Volunteer your time to spread the word about it.
  • If you reside in that area or wish to work there then volunteer your time for getting free training in Aquaponics and then become an entrepreneur.
  • If you are a trained Aquaponics Expert then apply for a job at Nurani Aquaponics.

10. People Theatres Group


Twitter account : Niloyroy
Niloy Roy
royniloy@gmail.com


This group of nomads harnesses social change & education through performing arts. It reaches out with songs, stories, street theatre and plays. It evokes responses and gets acclaimed critically. The solo performance of the Founder & Director brought to light the plight of a lonely man who was a puppet maker.Along with bringing to light a dying art. Another production - Disappearing Sparrows hits at the deteriorating environment conditions. People’s Theatre Group has performed over hundred street plays on clean green surroundings. It has a global campaign to engage organisations , individuals and committees , who organise Durga Puja in an environmentally responsive and ecologically affable celebrations thus only use biodegradable materials for idols & pandals and camps at immersion grounds for non- polluting immersions.

How you can help?

  • Volunteer; get free street theatre training on clean and green surroundings and a chance to perform.
  • Volunteer your time to spread the word about it.

11. Primate Procession & Society for Nature Education


Dr. Ekwal Imam
ekwalimam01@gmail.com


Primate Procession educates creates awareness among school children and communities through Nature walks visit to Wet Lands, Biodiversity Parks, Zoos, Farmer’s Markets and more. It helps students do research on free ranging monkeys by training them in ’ Tools of Observation, Data Collection and Analysis’ during workshops.For postgraduate students it undertakes field trips. It assists member Primatologists to present their work in conferences.It undertakes educating communities on living with monkeys. Monkeys are protected under the Wildlife Act of India. Except Government authorities no one can trap them but Rhesus are all over. This organization helps people understand behaviour and negate negativity between the two species. With wide experience in studying their behaviour in rural, urban, dry, and canal settings the team is apt at helping all. Primate Procession helps in rehabilitation of rhesus moneky and designing of monkey friendly sanctury.Also, It guides in the use of traditional method of monkey trapping if needed instead of using chemical technique. It provides scientific ways of treating man - monkey conflict and helps masses except monkeys as part of our valueable bio diversity line and harmony with them.

How you can help?

  • Donate for travel, boarding and lodging for the deserving economically poor for any of their activities.
  • Donate for postgraduate student’s field trips.
  • Donate for member Scientists to present papers in Primatological Conferences.
  • Volunteer to make films.
  • Write to ‘Science Sustainable’ and get donations for natural fencing of Bamboo or low cost Solar fence for monkey sanctuary.

12. VEER (Vistas of Education & Empowering Resource)


Ms Jyoti Koul
jyotikoul@gmail.com
Arun Kundu
kunduarun@gmail.com


Vistas of Educational and Empowering Resources(VEER) is a confluence of many valuable superlatives. Designating support, solidarity and Sharing to the communities that have not only witnessed but endured the brutalities of terrorism like Kashmiri Pandits that faced ethnic cleansing in their own homeland. Veer dedicates itself to support such societies to rebuilt and re-grow themselves. The first and foremost initiative in this direction is to sustain and disseminate a truthful narrative about their sacrifices and sustainability.

Your Participation

One can help Veer by the way of volunteering services simply by letting people connect with us and vice-versa. Feedback is extremely important, we would appreciate if people could guide us in building a strong network and identify areas where Veer can associate in order to improve lives. Donations would certainly help to keep the wheels turning.








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     Welcome !
     Our new Spark
    Stand N Stride


“Stand N Stride” believes that unless members of the civil society are involved proactively in the process of development, sustainable change will not happen. Following this model of Civic Driven Change, “Stand N Stride”sensitizes and engages the civil society, making it an active partner in all its welfare initiatives.

“Stand N Stride” has been established in 2016 by a small group of socially enthusiastic people in Delhi. In 2017 it was initially registered under Societies registration act XXI of 1860 from Govt. of NCT of Delhi and named “Stand N Stride Society” For more authenticity , transparency and better management, in Jan 2020 we got registered in company act vide section 8 of company act 2013 by Ministry of Corporate affairs and named as “Stand N Stride Foundation”. Its working area is all over India and has its registered office in Delhi. At present its areas of activities are South West Delhi.

Founder :
Amod Poddar

(+91-9873924929 , +91-8178165112)
×


     Some Facts about
    our feathered friends


        
Photo Courtesy : Barnali Ganguly
These days every bird is nesting. so if you see the nest, please do not go near it at all and don't look at it directly. If you wish to observe it, please do it subtly. Remember predators like crows and hawks are watching your movement and when you enter their territory they get more cautious. Do not let them know you've found a nest


Mohit Aggarwal

(Asian Adventures India)



     Report of first Meet
    Vatavaran Rhizome


Agar is a village in Rajasthan situated at a distance of 26 kilometres from Sariska Tiger Reserve. The name of this little known place will raise no eyebrows until you delve deeper… This village is characterised by clean and fresh air, simple lifestyles and homes which serve as economic units. These homes are either connected to the farms, or to the export-oriented markets[1] (mediated by middlemen). The people greet you warmly as you step out casually into the streets. You are served with the warmth of the people who invite you to their daughter's weddings. They serve you uncountable cups of tea/milk/buttermilk, welcome you into their homes, offer you whatever you like of theirs. And despite their vast expanse of valuable indigenous knowledge, they remain humble. The night sky shines brighter here, and it has an observation centre close by for observation.
In many ways, this village is a marvel. It has built dams and embankments, schools for both girls and boys, washrooms inside homes, and provisions for both electricity and water pipelines. Some may even argue that it is no longer a village, because of the stage of development it has reached. But it is truly off the beaten path, away from the city's evils. These dams and embankments have been built by a large amount of collective social work of the villagers themselves, with little government help. Being a characteristically arid region, the preservation of water is essential for the water to last for the rest of the year. It rains for only two-three months annually and sometimes lesser. These structures help in improving the groundwater table, so that water can later be drawn out through wells and bore wells. In the absence of these structures, the rainwater would have simply run off the surface and not retained for future usage. The objective of survival is what made the residents of Agar conscious of the need for water-preservation.
The barren hills have been turned green by the efforts of the people. Masti ki Pathshala contributes to this effort with the help of its school children who make seed bombs[3] and throw them from the top of the hill in all directions. Importance is given to the variety of seed sown, concerning the temperature, soil type, climate and benefits of the seed variety. Involving school-going children in this project sensitises the youth to the needs of the environment and brings them closer to nature.
It was in this remarkable village that Vatavaran Rhizome held its first meeting of all its Sparks. All the Sparks which were present introduced themselves and the different avenues of social upliftment in which each one engages. The approach to life which was adopted was holistic. The stars of the sky become your blanket while your back rests upon the cot. There was a collective effort in all the essential tasks- filling up water, cooking food, washing utensils and others. The harmony among all those attending the meet was astounding.
Masti ki Pathshala's interactions with the children are in a very innovative and engaging manner. The school is a centre focussed on imparting practical education based on alternative learning. The entire process is so unusual for the children that they yearn to come to Masti ki Pathshala even after school hours. They all have their own ways of engaging with materials around them, and no one dictates what is (or, is not) to be done. With the help of personalised learning for the children, the broader aim of this organisation is to prevent rural to urban migration. This will be achieved by creating avenues within the village itself, so the people will not have to migrate to the cities for opportunities of work. In this respect, the organisation also aims to provide vocational training to the children in their own fields of interest.
There are struggles in the village, as economic opportunities are still scarce. Women skilled in weaving carpets are unable to reap the full benefits of this labour-intensive work, as the middlemen take away a large part of the profits. A peek into the intensity of hard work: one square inch of the carpet takes two hours to weave. And as someone put it, just watching the process humbles you, and it testifies to values of patience, perseverance and hard work.
The other struggles are related to aspects of social and gender equality which seem to a long way ahead. Even when women earn and contribute to their family's incomes, they are deprived of an equal share of dignity. It is indeed heartening to see girls going to schools. But saddening to know that many of them are either engaged or married, and higher education is still rare among females. Menstrual hygiene and related issues are topics on which knowledge is scarcely imparted. Due to these and many other reasons Agar has a long way ahead for itself, towards sustainable development in not just economic but also social spheres. Masti ki Pathshala has begun work for the development of this region.
The path is rough, but the end will be rewarding.

Written By :
Mahima Bobin

(Volunteer at Vatavaran Rhizome)

Be Aware of Holi Colors !


Introduction

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
Colors Chemicals Effects
Black Engine oil + Lead Oxide Renal failure
Green Engine oil +Copper Sulphate Eye allergy, puffiness and temporary blindness
Silver Engine oil + Aluminium bromide Carcinogenic
Blue Engine oil + Perssian Blue Contract dermatitis
Red 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.

Vatavaran demands

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)

Introduction

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.

Case Report

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).

Discussion

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.
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