Ganesh Chaturthi is a popular festival celebrated in India. The 10-day long celebration includes decorating Ganesha idols at home, making and enjoying mouth-watering delicacies and of course, music, lights and immersion of the idol on the last day. However, as we celebrate Ganpati, we often forget how small things we do during the festival can cause harm to the environment. This year, we believe it’s time for some eco-consciousness. So here are some simple ways to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in an eco-friendly way.
Use eco-friendly idols: Ditch Ganesha idols made of chemicals, plaster of Paris, plastic and thermocol and opt for natural biodegradable materials like clay and papier mache instead. Biodegradable materials do not pollute the water or the surroundings after immersion. Homemaker Jaya Shanti says, “I make a Ganpati using haldi (turmeric) at home. This is 100% natural and doesn’t cause any harm to the environment.” You can also use other natural products such as coconut to make your idol and natural colours to paint it.
Small and sweet: Big idols occupy a lot of space and take a lot of time to dissolve in water. So, don’t keep an idol more than 5 feet tall in your society. Huge idols also consume more POP for its making; this material is harmful to the environment. Bigger idols also cause traffic congestion. Remember it’s the ritual and your emotions that should be big.
Conserve energy: We all love the fairy lights and bright incandescent bulbs. But they are a waste of energy and are expensive too. Replace these with compact fluorescent lights (CFL) as they save electricity and your money. You could wrap coloured transparent papers on the bulbs to give a dramatic look.
Use natural colours for rangoli: Use biodegradable colours such as turmeric, henna, rice powder, coloured dal and gulaal to make rangoli. These colours are eco-friendly and safe. Also, say no to decorations made of plastic and non-degradable material. Gargi Bansod, journalist says, “We use natural materials such as cloth, wood and paper for decorations. We also reuse materials from previous years in different ways.”
Say no to noise pollution: Avoid playing loud music which can cause disturbance in your society. Try playing instruments that are soft and soothing. Loudspeakers create noise pollution and can annoy hospitals, schools and your neighbours. Make sure to turn off the music by 10pm and abide by rules. Say no to crackers as well!
Ban plastic: There is a lot of delicious food served at home during Ganpati as well as fruits and sweets offered at pandals. Skip plastic and serve food in natural plates such as banana leaves instead. You can use cloth bags to carry prasad and other offerings as they can be reused later.
Limit the number of public pandals: Festivals are supposed to bring people together. So, instead of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi separately at different pandals, make one big pandal in your area for the entire neighborhood. Remember, more pandals means more noise, garbage and waste of electricity.
Artificial immersion tank: Using rivers, ponds, lakes or seas to immerse Ganesha idols can cause health hazards and is bad for the environment. Use an artificial immersion tank to immerse the idol. You can request your community members to do the same.