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Eco friendly Diwali
October 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, is one of the most celebrated festivals in the country as well as among Indians living abroad. This popular festival is celebrated vibrantly with lighting of small oil lamps, decorating homes and streets, bursting firecrackers and preparing feasts. Amidst all the pomp and splendor it is often easy to forget the potential harm caused to us and the environment by carrying out celebrations in an improper and irresponsible manner.

The pollution caused by excessive bursting of firecrackers, both in terms of noise and that to the air around us, is on its own quite a cause for concern. The waste generated from a week of celebrations, especially when it comprises of plastic and chemicals, also has a significant negative impact on the environment.

However, there are various ways we can limit, if not entirely eliminate, the damage done by the celebrations without dampening the festivities. Diwali is an age-old celebration of lights, one that traditionally involved the lighting of earthen or clay lamps both inside and outside homes. By continuing to choose such environmentally friendly material for the lamps, households could avoid or limit electric lighting, while continuing to maintain the essence of the festival. These lamps are easy to purchase, inexpensive, recyclable and are often painted in beautiful and vivid colors, adding to the traditional aesthetic of the festival.

Also, rather than decorating homes with artificially made color powders, opt for more organic and chemical-free versions of the same. Many families choose to use colorful alternatives like ground rice powder, pulses and lentils, with no compromise on the beauty whatsoever. Similarly, using real petals and flowers over fake plastic ones is an alternative that promises the same vibrant shades with the bonus that it also provides fresh, earthy scents. When decorating the house, try something new this year and explore the internet, with its vast suggestions on DIY decorations using recycled material; this is an enjoyable activity that could engage family and friends and also benefit the environment.

In addition, by encouraging collective celebration over individual celebration, Diwali can be cost effective as well as more favorable to the environment. This could encourage the use of fewer firecrackers, which could limit the pollution caused and also encourage sharing, bringing communities closer together in celebration. After all, more people could ultimately imply more fun!

Limiting celebrations is another way to be gentler to the environment. Suggest fixed hours during which communities could gather to celebrate, which would limit the use of fireworks without taking the fun out of the process. Festivities need not be compromised as families could continue to mingle and celebrate through music, dance and games.

As a result of the growing concern for the environment, eco-friendly firecrackers have also begun arriving in the market; made from recycled material and complying with the standards of the Central Pollution Control Board these new firecrackers produce only limited noise when lit and promises a better alternative to the otherwise loud and harmful firecrackers used.

When choosing to adopt safer and cleaner ways to celebrate this festive season, there are no limits to creative solutions available to those participating in the festivities without compromising on celebrations. By spreading the idea of environmentally friendly ways of celebrating festivals, it sets a benchmark for families everywhere, now and in the future, to celebrate the real essence of the festival, which is the triumph of good over evil.


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