Everybody eagerly waits for decorating the Ganesha idol and celebrating the festival every year with great enthusiasm. But, what we all mostly forget every time, amidst the festivities is that there is a serious impact of this festival on the environment due to immersion of idols and other related things.
Chemically made idols cause water pollution, killing marine flora and fauna, which indirectly reaches to us, through various mediums. The use of thermocol and plastic in pandals as well as for garlands and other decorations increases non biodegradable waste.
So, here’s some tips and tricks to celebrate this holy time of the year without harming the environment but with the same zeal and excitement:
- Say no to idols that are made of chemicals, plaster of paris, clay, plastic, thermocol, etc. Instead, go the green way with natural options like idols made of biodegradable materials, unbaked clay, coconut, paint with natural colours, etc.
- See that the size and number of the Ganesha idols are limited in your community. Limiting the size to 5 feet is the best that you can do, as bigger idols consume more making materials, are difficult to immerse in water and also cause traffic congestion and difficulty in transportation.
- Save energy and electricity by replacing traditional bulbs with CFL’s and other energy-efficient lights. Also, make sure that the decorative lights are switched on only when required, for instance, at the time of aarti, puja or in the evenings.
- Use natural and biodegradable colours, such as turmeric powder, henna (mehendi), rice powder, gulal, etc. for putting up rangolis. These are eco friendly as well as unique. Also, making natural decoration from cloth, wood, paper, etc. is advisable than using non-biodegradable materials like thermocol.
- Use cloth bags, paper bags and banana leaves instead of plastic bags and plastic sheets for offerings, prasad, fruits, etc. These are not only comfortable to carry and biodegradable but can also be reused later.
- Set a proper time in which speakers and microphones should be played, that is, between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and make sure that people abide by the rules. This will help tackle the issues of noise pollution. Also, avoid playing loud music on loudspeakers and bursting of firecrackers.
- Limiting the number of public pandals is a great thing to do as it will not only bring the entire community under one place to celebrate the festival, but also avoid the unnecessary noise, land and water pollution that arises due to celebrating the same festival at different places.
- A compost pit can be made for the organic material like offerings of flowers and garlands and other such materials. The compost material acts as a great fertilizer that can be used in your gardens. Dried flowers can be used to make natural colours or decorative paper for gifts.
As you learn how to go about the ‘Green Ganesha’, satisfy your palates with some scrumptious dishes like