Ganesh Chaturthi is upon us and with it comes 11 days of celebration, joy and a whole lot of modaks. But with it also comes air, water and noise pollution. The negative impact on the environment is enormous when you consider the scale at which we celebrate the festival. Thousands of Ganpati idols are submerged in the sea every year impacting marine life. The processions itself are colossal noise pollution generators; not to mention the traffic snarls they cause. While Ganesh Chaturthi is a beautiful festival wherein the whole community comes together, we need to be mindful about the way it is celebrated for the sake of our health and that of the environment. Here are some ways to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in an eco-friendly way:
Regular idols are made of Plaster of Paris and toxic paints that do not break down when submerged. Eco friendly idols on the other hand are made out of pure clay and dissolve without negatively impacting the environment. There are also some super cool alternatives like Tree Ganesha, that have seeds inside the idol so when they are submerged inside a planter they eventually grow into plants.
Source: Banega Swachh India
Artificial immersion tanks:
Instead of submerging your idol in the sea, artificial immersion tanks are a perfect eco-friendly alternative. You’re also reducing the burden of traffic, saving fuel and keeping the beach clean.
Make sure your decorations are organic:
This year choose natural decorations like flowers and clay diyas over plastic ones – we generate so much waste because of single use plastics that are used in decorations! You can even opt for organic rangoli that doesn’t contain harmful toxins.
Celebrate as a community:
Historically speaking Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated as a community festival during the freedom struggle to unite Indians against the oppressive rule. This concept changed over the years and people started celebrating it more privately than ‘sarvajanically’. Think about how many of your friends get a statue every year. Now imagine if all of you came together to celebrate as one with only one statue, spreading the joy amongst each other. Sounds better doesn’t it? The environment agrees!
Compost the waste:
Every year, all the garlands, flowers and offerings are just left to be washed away into the sea but they can be useful to you too. They are perfect ingredients for compost that can be later used as fertilizer for your garden.
Source: Yoga Journal
Let’s pledge to worship wisely this festive season. Wish you all a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi