This Diwali, Spread the Light of Being Pro Environment
It is that time of the year again. There is a nip in the air, hustle, and bustle in marketplaces and mithais and yummy things being made at home. Obviously, it is the festive season. My second most favorite festival, Diwali is around the corner. Ever since I started going to school, I was told Diwali is the ‘festival of lights’. But I don’t think you will fully disagree with me that nowadays, we have made it the ‘festival of pollution’.
Some people have started bursting cracker almost a month before Diwali. And it is not just the air we breathe that is full of toxic pollutants due to the overdose of crackers, but even land and water become poisoned with the sheer quantity of crackers that are burst. The noise pollution is on a different level altogether.
This is perhaps the reason why the Supreme Court has ruled that only “green firecrackers” would be allowed to be sold in Delhi/NCR. It also set time slots for bursting firecrackers during festivities. restricted the bursting of crackers across India to two hours—from 8pm to 10pm—on Diwali and other festivities, including weddings. The apex court set a separate slot—11.55pm to 12.30am—for bursting crackers during Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations throughout the country. Online sale of crackers has been banned. Sale of joined firecrackers, popularly called laris, is also prohibited.
We also must do our bit in reducing the pollution that we all contribute to.
Here are my ideas that I plan to follow to celebrate Diwali in an eco-friendly way:
- I am not going to burst ANY crackers this year. I think bursting crackers is the same as burning your money. I would much rather use it to buy something nice for myself.
If you must burst crackers, opt for ‘green crackers’. These are basically “reduced emission crackers”. According to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, firecrackers that cause 30-35% lower emission of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and 35-40% lower emission of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide are categorized as “green crackers”. The products have low content of aluminium. Use of barium salt and ash as a drying agent is banned for such crackers. The clinical composition of fireworks will be reviewed by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, which would submit its report within two weeks. Bursting of firecrackers leads to a spike in pollution, as the air quality dips to “very poor” levels. There is a significant rise in the levels of PM10 and PM2.5, known to cause or aggravate health hazards such as asthma, coughing, bronchitis, nervous system breakdown and cognitive impairment. Aluminium in firecrackers may cause skin problems, while barium salts emit poisonous gases causing respiratory problems.
- Diwali is also a time for family bonding. So, this year, when you’re busy selecting gifts for your loved ones, consider DIY gifts that are made of organic materials. Also, wrap your gifts in the newspaper since shiny gift wrappers combine plastic and metal which make it difficult to recycle.
- Instead of carrying sweets and other edible items (which again come packed in plastic), why not gift some decorative plants? I am also planning to give tree saplings to all my friends as Diwali gifts. Neem, Ashoka, Jamun, and Guava saplings are all ready. I will be painting the clay pots in which I will give these plants to all my friends.
- Instead of using wood husk or shaving-based rangoli colors, I plan to use Ashoka leaves to make rangoli. Ashoka leaves need to be pruned in this season so that fresh leaves can sprout. So you can chop the old Ashoka leaves finely and use that, rice powder and turmeric or even flowers to make rangolis. Make Rangolis with flowers, or you can use flour and also rice products. Rangolis came into existence not only to beautify our houses but as a way of sharing food with insects and birds. Use products that are biodegradable. Avoid using those colors that are chemically dyed. Instead use coffee powder, turmeric or kumkum. You can also make Rangoli out of colored paper shreds. Or paint one on the floor using poster colors mixed with a little mustard oil.
- Instead of buying readymade torans of plastic, opt for something more creative. Like you can use air-drying clay to make flowers and string them together or bottle caps, paint them and string them together etc. Use old dupattas and sarees to create colorful curtains or just for wall décor.
- Lighting up the whole house is the most important part of Diwali celebration. People decorate their house with lights bulbs for 1 week prior to and then after Diwali. Using electric bulbs during Diwali consumes lots of electricity. Instead of electric bulbs, you can opt for Diyas or earthen lamps. This will not only reduce the consumption of electricity but it will look prettier too.
- Light up the lives of the needy. Run through your wardrobe. You may come across at least a couple of clothes that you either no longer fit in or do not wear. There are umpteen people around who cannot afford anything new this Diwali.
Gift these clothes to them and help them celebrate with a smile. Not only clothes, donate accessories/shoes and other things too. There is no better way to light up this Diwali than lighting up a home or a needy person’s face.
There are many NGOs that provide doorstep service for donating clothes, etc for the needy. You can contact them also.
I am all for celebrating Diwali that actually brightens the future of our environment and Mother Earth. Do you have any more ideas for celebrating Diwali in an eco-friendly way? Please leave them in the comment box below and share and spread the love…