Ganesh Chaturthi 2018: What YOU can do to ensure eco-friendly acts
By: Rukmini Chopra
Published On: September 13, 2018
On Ganesh Chaturthi 2018, here’s a look at what each of us can do to inspire and contribute towards an eco-friendly celebration this year.
It’s that time of the year again- people will be chanting “Ganpati bappa morya,” the streets will be filled with colours and drum rolls, modaks will be passed around, and small and humongous idols alike will be immersed in water. Ganesh Chaturthi is here and it’s time to welcome Ganesha home.
While we make it a point to celebrate this festival in a magnanimous way each year, we forget the tremendous harm that we cause to the environment with our festivities. Most Ganpati idols are made with plaster of Paris, ie. calcium sulfate and hemihydrate.
This substance takes many months to fully dissolve in water. It also reduces the oxygen level in water, thus affecting marine life. POP also makes the water acidic and is responsible for leaving behind harmful chemicals and substances such as mercury and lead.
Aside from this, there is air pollution caused by crackers and noise pollution caused by loud music and drums.
We as citizens need to recognize this issue before it’s too late. We fortunately are on the right track this year, as suggested by this report that states that many citizens have opted for eco-friendly Ganpati idols this year.
However, it’s not just up to those celebrating the festival, to be more environment conscious. Those who are not keeping idols are equally responsible in ensuring that Ganesh Chaturthi be celebrated in an eco-friendly way this year as well as in the coming years.
There are small things that YOU can do to make sure your those around you indulge in responsible celebrations. Here’s what you can do:
Spread the word
Many people don’t opt for eco-friendly options as they may not even be aware of the harm the celebrations can cause. But you can change that. You can spread awareness about the rising levels of water, air and noise pollution each year.
While citizens in metros and developing areas have knowledge about the same, many in rural areas don’t.
You can collaborate with your friends or people from your neighbourhood and go around less developed areas to educate people on the effects of using POP idols.
Distribute eco-friendly substances
In order to ensure that people use eco-friendly substances, it’s vital that you directly provide them with the same instead of letting them look for it on their own. You might have to spend some of your own money to do it, but if you don’t wish to do that, you can always opt for online crowdfunding, or raise funds offline through a bake sale, garage sale, etc.
You can provide people with the following materials: Clay and paper mache for idols, turmeric powder, rice and chilli powder for rangolis, paper plates and glasses for sweets and drinks, candles and CFL bulbs for decorations, etc.
Place an artificial immersion tank in your neighborhood
People who have big idols may have to immerse them in ponds and rivers. But you can encourage those with small and mini idols to immerse them in an artificial water tank. You can either dig up one in an open ground nearby or can purchase one made of rubber. There’s in fact an app called ‘Mourya’ where you can find artificial immersion tanks! You can read all about it here.
Distribute noise-cancelling earplugs
Like we mentioned above, noise pollution is a major concern during Ganpati celebrations. It directly affects heart patients, people suffering from anxiety, elderly people and even animals.
You may not be able to control thousands of people flocking to the streets and paying dhol, but you can do your bit to ensure those around you don’t suffer.
You can distribute noise-cancelling ear plugs to the elderly as well as patients in rural and less-developed areas. This small gesture can make a big difference in ensuring their well being.
Hold a clean up drive after the festivities are done
This is the most important step. Each year, tonnes of plastic waste, and prayer materials such as flowers, coconuts, leaves, etc are left behind on the streets and water bodies.
You can contribute by either conducting or participating in a clean up drive after the celebrations are done.
So are you ready to be eco-friendly? We wish you good luck and a happy Ganesh Chaturthi!
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