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  By: Astha Raghav.  The  General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade  ( GATT ) is a  legal agreement  between many countries, whose overall purpose was to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers such as  tariffs  or  quotas . According to its preamble, its purpose was the "substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis." The GATT was first discussed during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment and was the outcome of the failure of negotiating governments to create the International Trade Organization (ITO). It was signed by 23 nations in Geneva on October 30th, 1947, and was applied on a provisional basis January 1st, 1948.It remained in effect until January 1st, 1995, when the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established after agreement by 123 nations in Marrakesh on April 15th, 1994, as part of the Uruguay Round Agreements. The WTO is t

Say No To Crackers


By: Astha Raghav 

DIWALI and one can hear the sounds of firecrackers exploding from all directions. People of all age groups are fascinated with firecrackers, which form a prominent part of the Diwali celebrations. Firecrackers are known to cause air pollution as well as noise pollution and are extremely harmful for senior citizens and small children.   Pets such as dogs and cats also suffer on account of firecrackers as animals have a more sensitive sense of hearing than humans. 

Firecrackers can cause hearing loss, high blood pressure, sleeping disturbances and sudden exposure to loud noise can cause temporary or permanent deafness or even result in heart attack. 

Diwali is the biggest festival of India and its sanctity should not be blown away in smoke. This festival of goodwill can be celebrated in a number of ways other than bursting firecrackers.

Let each one of us take a pledge THIS DIWALI to "SAY NO TO CRACKERS" and invest in a safer and greener future. Diwali is the festival of lights and we must enlighten our lives with the sparkle of joy and goodwill, forget past grievances and look ahead towards a brighter and happier future.

Over the years several Bollywood celebrities have vowed against bursting crackers during Diwali and some have made good use of social media to raise awareness regarding the ills they cause not just to the environment but also humans and animals. In 2017, actress Alia Bhatt started the #PoochOverPataka campaign as she couldn’t bear to see her pet suffer due to the noise pollution. Anushka Sharma followed it with #PAWsitive. Each year, several artists speak of their concerns over health, pollution and the amount of waste bursting crackers causes.

"I remember as a boy I used to love firecrackers and I’m not going to be ashamed of that. But now I believe the time of crackers is over," actor Boman Irani told MAIL TODAY. "One should understand that. Environmentally, for older people, for dogs, for your own lungs, for all the money that could have been put to better use Even the noise I can’t stand anymore. I find it tough to find a positive, except for the sparkling colours they give."

Actress Isha Koppikar agreed and said celebrating a "green" Diwali is an excellent idea. "Instead donate your old stuff to the needy people, avoid plastic for gifts packaging, make rangoli with flowers, flour or rice products, gift herbal products or a plant. Buy earthen lamps or diyas and avoid using decorative electric lights. This Diwali let the Earth breathe," she said.

But as they say charity begins at home and The Family Man actor Sunny Hinduja makes sure he doesn’t burst crackers and encourages his nephew and niece not to do it either.

"I was in Indore one Diwali with my brother and bhabhi, and I came home from the hostel to celebrate with them. I remember we were trying to burst what was known as the Laxmi Bomb’ but it wouldn’t light and we were scared because we had heard horror stories of it suddenly bursting when you went near it. So we waited for a long time and when I did go to check, it literally burst in my face," recalled Hinduja. "If you don’t burst crackers on Diwali, it doesn’t mean you are breaking tradition. Traditions are made by us and it’s time we evolve, considering pollution, cutting down trees global warming, so much is happening. So even if it’s not such a big contribution from our side, we shouldn’t burst crackers and tell others not to do it either. That’s our responsibility as good citizens."

Thank You!


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