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10 tips to have an eco-friendly Ganesha festival this year!

Aug 23, 2017

Ganesh Chaturthi or the birth anniversary of the elephant god Ganesha or Ganapati is celebrated with great pomp and show in various parts of India. From the gigantic Ganesha idols to the ten-day-long celebrations, nothing is too much when it comes to this festival.  Families prepare the home for the festival by decorating the house with flowers, fruits, and other ornaments. Ganesha idols are brought home and visited by numerous guests who feast on delectable sweets and enjoy the music, dance, and revelry that is associated with this festival. On the last day of the festival, throngs of people gather to immerse the idol into the river or sea.

While everyone is busy rejoicing the glory of this festival, we often forget how our actions might, in turn, be harming the environment. So why not celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi the eco-friendly way this year? Here are some tips to get you started.

1) Bring home an eco-friendly Ganesha idol

Plaster of Paris (POP)is the most commonly used material for sculpting the Ganesha idol. Though easy to use and great to look at, idols made using POP do not disintegrate easily when immersed in water. Furthermore, the chemicals in POP pollute the water and harm the aquatic life present in the water body. This Ganesh Chaturthi, bring home an eco-friendly Ganesh idol made of clay or any other biodegradable material.

2) Minimize the use of plastics

Plastics are non-biodegradable and a major pollutant of water bodies and landfills. People use plastic to serve food, pack sweets and decorate homes during festivals. Try using cloth bags, leaf plates and natural decorations for an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi this year.

3) Use an artificial immersion tank

The immersion of the idol into water is symbolic and need not be done in a naturally occurring water body. Why not get together with your neighbours and use an artificial immersion tank to immerse the idol. This can save the numerous rivers and lakes used for immersion from getting polluted.

4) Composting to get the best out of waste

Before, after and during the ten-day festival, huge amounts of organic wastes are generated by every household. Make the best use of this waste matter by deposing it in a compost pit. You can later use this compost in your potted plants or garden.

5) Prevent noise and air pollution by avoiding the use of fireworks

The bursting of fireworks not only generates a lot of noise that can be disturbing to infants and the elderly, they also fill up the air around your home with poisonous gases. The fumes emitted by fireworks pose a threat to public health. Avoid using these to ensure that the air in your home is clean. Use an air purifier to eliminate any air pollutants from your home.

6) Eco-friendly pandals

Pandals are tents or temporary structures that are built to keep the Ganesh idol during the ten days of the festival. Go green this year by building an eco-friendly pandal made of reusable and recyclable material only. Also, monitor the amount of waste that the pandal is generating and dispose of the same in an eco-friendly manner.

7) Keep water bodies clean

Very often people throw in a lot of wastes into water bodies during immersion. Avoid throwing decorations, flowers, and plastics in the rivers and streams used for immersion. These water bodies are already stressed due to pollution and over consumption. Do not further destroy their natural beauty.

8) Use floral decorations

Spruce up your home with fresh flowers like rose, marigold, and jasmine instead of artificial decoration for an eco-friendly celebration. Traditionally, mango leaves were used as decorations during the Ganesha festival. Try this option for a rustic yet festive feel.

9) Use natural rangoli colours

Rangoli colours that are commonly available in the market are chemical based. Do away with all chemicals this Ganesh Chaturthi by using flower petals, rice powder, gulal, and sandalwood powder to create beautiful rangoli designs.

10) Eat home cooked hygienic meals

Drink pure water and eat home cooked meals cooked hygienically to stay healthy throughout the ten-day festival. Remember to stay hydrated during long processions and steer clear of food cooked and sold in unhygienic conditions.

Ganesh Chaturthi is about coming together with emotion and devotion. Use these tips and celebrate this joyous festival in an eco-friendly way this year and you are sure to please the gods.

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