Ganesh Festival is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur in several states across India, but Maharashtra is the centre of attraction of this extravagant 10-day occasion.
Every year, lakhs of devotees bring Ganesha idols home. After the rituals are complete, these idols are later immersed in water at the end of the festival.
The tradition is great and so is the sentiment attached to it. However, we must also focus on not hampering the environment while celebrating and following our traditions. Unfortunately, while the rituals associated with this festival are pious and glorious, they may not necessarily be ideal for the environment.
However, there are ways to celebrate this festival while reducing the impact on nature. Here’s how you can celebrate an eco-friendly Ganesha Chaturthi and do your part in helping the environment.
How to Celebrate Eco-Friendly Ganesh Festival
Usually, the Ganesha idols that are available in the market are either made of plaster of paris or some other material which is not biodegradable. When immersed in the water bodies, these can cause water pollution and harm the life underwater.
If DIY is your thing, take this opportunity to fashion your own Ganesha idol using Shadu chi Mati or natural clay, and use natural colors made from turmeric, red sandalwood, Multani Mitti (Fuller’s earth) etc. to paint it.
Avoid using anything made of plastic. You can simply use fresh flowers, leaves and diyas to decorate the pandals for Ganesh festival. You can also make rangolis and add natural beauty to your Ganpati celebrations. Instead of using store-bought plastic bandhanwars, you can buy the ones made of flowers, clay, thread, clothes, etc. You can even make one at home and add a personal touch.
Choose non-toxic colours
Some rangoli powder colors used to make floor decorations contain harmful chemicals that can adversely affect health. Choose natural biodegradable colors such as turmeric, henna or mehendi, rice powder and organic gulaal – the vegetable powder colors increasingly used at Holi. Such colors neither pose a threat to the health of the people at home nor do they affect the environment. They can be easily wiped clean or swept away, without causing any permanent colour stains on the floor, which is, you’ll agree, a bonus.
Many of us like to keep our puja rooms lit up during the days of Ganesh Chaturthi with lots of electric tea lights, pendants, lamps and bulbs to enhance the decorations. This can lead to energy wastage. Turn on these fixtures only during prayer time or choose LED or earthen oil lamps that save costs.
While lighting up the community pandals use energy-efficient lighting fixtures like LED diyas or traditional earthen lamps. Make sure that excessive lights are not used, which can lead to waste and light pollution.
Avoid playing loud music and prayers on your music player all day long. It causes noise pollution and distresses animals, infants and neighbours around you.
Plant a Ganesha:
You can buy a tree Ganesh that has a seed at its base, or the soil formed through eco-friendly visarjan can be put over a seed that turns into a tree. This way, Ganesh would always be with you in the form of a tree bestowing his blessings.
Raise awareness on eco-friendly practices
The management committee should take initiatives to educate the residents about the festival, its significance and the importance of adopting eco-friendly practices.
While honouring our traditions, it is important to do our bit to not disturb the ecological balance. With strong initiatives from the management committee and the co-operation of the residents, you can do your bit to celebrate an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi.
Use Biodegradable Tableware for Prasad
Ganesh Chaturthi means getting together with your loved ones, family, and friends. And we understand how painful post-clean-up appears after prasad Vitran (distribution) is over. But plastic cutlery is definitely not the solution! It may help you in reducing the workload but can harm the environment in countless ways. Instead, you can purchase disposable dinnerware that is eco-friendly and biodegradable. This tableware is made from sugarcane pulp, making them fit for composting too.
It is time for us to be more responsible and make our approach toward celebrations more inclusive of other organisms we share this planet with. Apply the 3 R’s-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – however you can, and Mother Earth will thank you for your devotion and service to humanity.