Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in India. The 11-days long celebration includes decorating Ganesha idols at home and in pandals, making and enjoying mouth-watering delicacies and of course equal contributions of some music, decorative lights and immersion of the Ganesha idols on the last day. However, as we celebrate this grand festival, 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:-
Bring eco-friendly Ganesha idols:-
Ditch Ganesha idols made of chemicals, plaster of Paris, plastic and thermocol and opt for natural biodegradable materials like clay and soil instead. Biodegradable materials do not pollute the water or the surroundings after immersion. it’s time for you to show that you care for the environment and you contribute to a safer environment by purchasing clay idols, which are not only eco-friendly but traditionally it is also the right way to do it. And yes, this is also the most important part of celebrating the festivities in an eco-friendly way.
A BIG NO to noise and air pollution:-
Avoid playing loud music which can cause a 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 10 pm and abide by rules. Say no to crackers as well to avoid air pollution by those huge bursting crackers!
Ban plastic plates and glasses:-
There is a lot of delicious food served at home during Ganpati as well as fruits and sweets offered at pandals. Skip the plastic and serve food in natural plates such as banana leaves or Biodegradable Plates which are easily available in markets. You can use cloth bags to carry prasad and other offerings as they can be reused later.
Keep 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. This is, of course, one very important suggestion.
Artificial immersion tank:-
While we make it a point to celebrate this festival in a magnanimous way each year, we forget the tremendous harm that we cause to the environment with our festivities. Most Ganpati idols especially the big idols are made with Plaster Of Paris. Using rivers, ponds, lakes or seas to immerse Ganesha idols can cause health hazards and is bad for the environment. This substance takes many months to fully dissolve in water. It also reduces the oxygen level in the water, thus affecting marine life. POP also makes the water acidic and is responsible for leaving behind harmful chemicals and substances such as mercury and lead. Use an artificial immersion tank to immerse the idol. You can request your community members to do the same.
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 neighbourhood. Remember, more pandals mean more noise, garbage and waste of electricity. Yes, this can be taken care of with the help of your local corporation.
Spread the word:-
Many people don’t opt for eco-friendly options as they may not even be aware of the harm the celebrations can cause. But you can change that. You can spread awareness about the rising levels of water, air and noise pollution each year. While citizens in metros and developing areas know about the same, many in rural areas don’t. You can collaborate with your friends or people from your neighbourhood and go around less developed areas to educate people on the effects of using POP idols.
Hold a clean up drive after the festivities are done -
This is the most important step from the rest. After the festivities are over, each year, tonnes of plastic waste and prayer materials such as flowers, coconuts, leaves, etc are left behind on the streets and water bodies. With a little time from your end, you can contribute by either conducting or participating in a clean up drive after the celebrations are done.
So are you ready to be eco-friendly? We wish you good luck and a happy Ganesh Chaturthi!
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