The festival of lights, Diwali is just around the corner and the celebrations have already started. One of India’s biggest festivals, Diwali brings with itself an unmatchable excitement and celebratory spirit.
Diwali is a festival that signifies the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair. However, in the recent years, extravagant celebrations have not only put a great strain on the environment, but have also put people’s health at stake.
While these celebrations may seem fun, their far-reaching consequences are not. Air pollution levels rise to dangerous levels, energy and food wastage increases exponentially, plastic packaging and cracker debris litters the roads and several elderly people and animals suffer from anxiety attacks.
It’s time we celebrated Diwali responsibly and with minimal environmental consequence. Here are a few ways to ensure that this year’s Diwali is a smokeless, noiseless and safe experience for all!
Instead of Plastic Go Earthy –
Diwali is no doubt a festival of lights. And once you go to the market for Diwali shopping, it’s difficult to resist the temptation of shopping for those eye catching bright lights, lampsand curtains, all made with low quality plastic. Instead be real and substitute candles and electric diyas with the good old oil diyas that are bio-degradable, cost effective, traditional and very beautiful. Plus, you will also be contributing in reducing the electricity consumption that normally reaches sky high levels during Diwali. If you would rather have electric lighting anyway, opt for LED lights.
Say NO to noisy fire crackers –
Try and avoid wasting your money on fire crackers. As firecrackers leave the city hazy, noisy and littered with waste the next morning, the best way to celebrate Diwali is to go firecracker-free. The pollutants associated with firecrackers make it difficult to breathe and are linked to many respiratory problems as well. The loud noises and blinding flashes also give severe anxiety attacks to animals and birds. But incase you cannot celebrate Diwali without crackers, opt for the eco-friendly ones. They are made of recycled paper. And they not only make less noise but also add less pollution to the environment.
Go Green and Environment friendly –
Talking of a green Diwali, what could be better than gifting a plant? Instead of carrying sweets and other edible items (which again come packed in plastic), why not gift some decorative plants? Kitchen herbs, feng shui plants, air purifying plants, bonsai, and terrariums make great eco-conscious gifts. Some other eco-friendly gift options are jute bags, khadi clothes, and solar powered gadgets. To give the gift a personal touch, make a card from recycled paper to go with it. Also, remember to pack your gifts in newspapers instead of shiny plastic wraps. After all, gifting anything that supports the green cause is always special!
Recycled Diwali Decor –
This year, give the festivals a green tinge by reusing everyday items in innovative ways to create beautiful products. They will brighten up your home and be good for the environment too! You can also buy Diwali decor from various organizations that are working to light up the lives of the marginalized. For instance, many NGO working with differently-abled kids, offers many products suitable for Diwali – diyas, decorations, and more. By doing this you will not make your Diwali
The art of making eco-friendly Rangoli –
You will be surprised to know this. In the olden days, Rangoli were made to feed the birds. This Diwali, let’s do the same. Instead of using harmful artificial colours, make your Rangoli with rice and pulses; it’s a great way of sharing food with the creatures around us, like birds and ants. Or you can also use flowers and their petals like marigold, roses, mogra and their leaves to give the finishing touches to your Rangoli – you can use them the next day to make compost for your garden. The spectacular South Indian ‘kolam’ and Bengali ‘alpana’ made with rice paste, are also great options.
Bio-gradable plates and glasses for food serving –
Guests pour in numbers during any festive occasion. So it is natural that food and drinks are to be served, and this eventually leads to a lot many dishes to be cleaned. At such times, we tend to veer towards using disposable plates and glasses, which unfortunately are very damaging to the environment. To counter that and resolve both your problems, we suggest you opt for biodegradable crockery. It looks chic and elegant and will also save you all the effort to clean up post the event.
D for Diwali D for Donate –
Run through your wardrobe. You may come across at least a couple of clothes that you either no longer fit in or do not wear. There are umpteen people around who cannot afford anything new this Diwali. Gift these clothes to them and help them celebrate with a smile. Not only clothes, donate accessories/shoes and other things too. There is no better way to light up this Diwali than lighting up a home or a needy person’s face.
Keeping our mute friends in mind a very important note - Remember that animals are not comfortable with the noise and pollution created by crackers. Please make sure that it’s a Happy Diwali for your pets as well as the streets animals.
Any form of change isn’t easy. When it’s time to celebrate, we resist any kind of change saying, “But this doesn’t come every day… so let us enjoy to the fullest”
But remember, our earth has limited resources. The more we take care of it today, the better it would be for our tomorrow. Have a clean green and pollution free Diwali celebration!