A project by Aditi Neti

'पटाखा / Pataakha' is a project that examines the detrimental effects of bursting fireworks on a large scale across India during Diwali. A joyous occasion for those who celebrate it, this festival of lights may also have a darker side.

पटाखा / Pataakha means fireworks in Hindi.


During my childhood, in Bangalore, it was normal to light fireworks yourself. Dads used to get home giant boxes of assorted pyrotechnics from the firecrackers shop, and over the course of two-three days, the skies of Bangalore were amazingly lit: imagine having Singapore’s NDP Parade firework show on a scale 1000x larger!

However, the following days were always awful: smoke always lingered, low on the roads, and people often developed slight coughs and allergies in response. The pollution was very severe. Something so joyous did have dire consequences, and this was a country-wide phenomenon, applying to every major city in India.


A visualisation of a dataset that evaluates the air quality in Delhi (the capital city of India) and its pollution levels, with a special focus on the aftermath of Diwali in November.

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Diwali, for Indians, is a time of joy, festivities and prosperity. The illuminative qualities of light associated with fireworks is an integral part of this festival. How can we replicate that without the harmful effects of pollution?

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