As Diwali approaches, people across the country start preparing lights, diyas, rangolis, flowers, as well as firecrackers.

However, there are two towns, Kollukudipatti and Singampunari, in Tamil Nadu’s Sivaganga district that have not burst even a single firecracker in the past three decades.

"I’m 47, and all these years, I’ve never seen my people burst crackers inside our village. We stay off from crackers even during temple thiruvizhas (festival),” says Veeraiya, a forest official in Kollukudipatti.

And turns out the reason behind not bursting crackers is their commitment to creating a clean and green environment for migratory birds.

The tradition of not bursting crackers was started by the people in the villages around 30 years ago when they all realised that their actions were causing harm to the environment and traumatising the wildlife around them.

According to Sampathlal Gupta, district forest officer, Sivaganga, endangered species like little cormorants, little egrets, cattle egrets, and flamingos, fly to the state in the winter months. 

Arumugam, former Panchayat president, Kollukudipatti, said, “Earlier, during the time of Deepavali, we had exploded loud crackers. On hearing the sound, the birds started to shake vigorously. In the process, their eggs fell down and were damaged,” in an interview with DT Next.

“A loud bang would scare nesting mothers away from the nest. This could leave the hatchlings and eggs in danger,” says S Balpandi, a bird expert from Sivaganga.

On observing this, a meeting was held with the village elders, where it was collectively decided to not burst crackers.