Eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations

By Kudrat Sandhu

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The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi also called as Vinayaka Chaturthi is celebrated with lots of fervour and happiness. The elephant headed Lord Ganesh, also known as Hindu God of Beginnings, is a symbol of intellect, wisdom and undiscriminated intelligence.

The 11-day celebration includes fasting, praying, processions and immersing the deities. Every year, hundreds of deities are immersed in the water bodies, raising eyebrows of many environmentalists as these idols, especially those that are made out of Plaster of Paris and most of the decorations are non-bio-degradable.

Here are a few eco-friendly ways to celebrate the festival smartly and responsibly.

1. Using wreaths made of real flowers instead of plastic flowers. They make the place beautiful, fragrant and add to the vibe of festivity.

2. Using idols made of clay or sand. Avoiding the usage of idols of Plaster of Paris as they take years to decompose. They pollute water and harm the marine ecosystem.

3. Playing music at low volume can help avert noise pollution. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, any sound that goes higher than 85 dB can cause loss of hearing. So opting for low volume instruments like tabla or harmonium would protect our ears and add to the festive spirit equally well.

4. By using LED bulbs, one can save a lot of electricity and prevent light pollution. According to NOPEC, an LED bulb can light upto 25,000 hours, whereas a CFL bulb will only go upto 8,000 hours.

5. Another way to avoid over-lighting the house is by using diyas. They can be an excellent substitute for artificial lights and add to festive spirit as they look equally beautiful.

6. Digging a compost pit. The flower wreaths, banana leaves used to serve parsad, half used incense sticks, all natural decoration materials and diyas can be collected on the last day and thrown into the pit. It can later be used as manure for plants.

7. By reusing decorations for next year, not only will one save a lot of money but also be doing one’s bit for the planet. This can exponentially decrease solid waste and burden on the authorities.

8. The 4 Rs( Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) – By refusing plastic decorations, reducing the number of idols, reusing metal idols made of copper or brass and recycling of flowers to make papers or dried flower products, a lot can be done by us as responsible citizens on a personal and at community level (by Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Samitis & Pandals) without missing out on any kind of fun.

India is a country wherein a myriad of religions are followed and every festival is celebrated by the countrymen with equal vigour. By keeping our surroundings clean and celebrating responsibly, not only does one save the planet from unnecessary pollution and reduce the work of authorities, but also makes it easier for the people and the government to make proper arrangements for the next festival.

Ganpatti Bappa Moraya!

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