Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agancy. (ANA).
Durban - As Hindus around South Africa celebrate the Festival of Lights - Diwali or Deepavali - this week, they will have to do so with certain caveats.

The eThekwini Municipality has reiterated its by-laws regarding when and where fireworks can be lit, and those disobeying the rules could face a R1500 spot fine.

Durban metro police spokesperson Parboo Sewpersad said fireworks may only be lit from sunset on the day of Diwali until midnight.

He warned that only low-hazard fireworks, such as fountains, lawn lights and sparkles could be lit in private homes, while fireworks such as air bombs, supersonic bangs, sound shells, fountain whistles and screeches are prohibited.

The by-laws also call for children under 16 years old to be properly supervised by an adult when setting off fireworks.

Sewpersad urged pet owners to ensure their pets were fitted with a collar - with identification tags stating their home address and owner’s contact number.

The debate on the use of fireworks heated up on social media, with many locals calling for a ban on fireworks.

“If you are smart enough, you’d understand that Diwali is a festival of lights, not sounds. Kindly avoid using loud crackers and stick to the traditional way of bringing in Diwali with lights, which will brighten your path,” Ruzbeh Patel wrote on his Facebook page, sharing a video of a trembling dog whose anxiety and fear was allegedly sparked by the loud sounds of fireworks being set off.

SPCA marketing manager Tanya Fleischer said the organisation opposed the use of loud fireworks for any reason as it compromised the welfare of animals.

Fleischer said domestic dogs and cats relied heavily on hearing to locate prey and danger, and to communicate.

“Cats and dogs are able to hear a wider range of sounds than humans. They are very sensitive to loud bangs. Most dogs are so frightened by the noise that they try to escape and injure themselves,” she said.

The Mercury