We are a nation that enjoys celebrations. Our festivals are grand. And when it comes to celebrating them, we like to do it big, be it Deepavali, Holi, Durga Puja, Navratri, Ganapati or more. But, whether you do celebrate any festival or not, you know that they hold extreme repercussions on our environment. Bursting loud firecrackers littering the streets with garbage and noise on Diwali or wasting buckets of water on Holi or immersing idols into our oceans flooding them with chemicals and toxins– none of this is ideal. With Ganapati and many other festivals just around the corner, we support and want to encourage eco-friendly methods of celebrations. Here are some tips on how to do so:
Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja:
- Re-create idols made with organic materials like mud and clay. Modern idols are made using non-biodegradable materials and toxin compounds that increase the levels of acidity and harm marine life in our oceans.
- You could even re-think methods of immersion at a community level by using local immersion tanks instead of immersing in water bodies.
- Use natural colors to paint idols such as gerru or turmeric, instead of toxin-induced paints.
- Collaborate with NGOs and local organizations to conduct cleaning drives at beaches, neighborhoods, or just along the streets.
- Conduct eco-friendly idol-building competitions encouraging residents to get creative using ingredients like cow-dung, clay, mud, to even chocolate!
- Continue to spread awareness and create discussions through social media.
- Go noise-free. Celebrate Diwali emphasizing on light and not noise.
- Be sure to avoid leaving decorative lights on for too long. If you must, invest in compact fluorescent and LED lamps
- If you do have to crack crackers, go for those within the decibel limits set by the Central Pollution Control Board. Or opt for alternatives like sparklers or popping balloons!
- Use organic means such as rice, flowers, dry-fruits to create rangolis, instead of using artificial colors.
- Recycle everyday items such as newspapers, recycled paper for gifts and décor. Examples can also include using orange peels for lamps, old sarees to spruce up your walls, or painting old plastic bottles for decoration.
- Move to herbal gulaal instead of using chemical colors. It may be slightly more expensive but a major benefit of using them is how quickly the colors rub off your skin.
- You can even use household items to create your own colors, such as turmeric, sandalwood, henna, or even certain flowers.
- Opt for a dry Holi every year to conserve water.
- Prevent the consumption of wood for Holika bonfires, and instead opt to use waste materials and recycled goods for bonfires.
These are some of the tips you can keep in mind while enjoying your celebrations.
As they say, go big or go home. Well, you can still go big in your celebrations, as long as you’re looking out for something even bigger, the planet that you live in.
Words: Arushi Dutt