The Bold Voice of J&K

Celebrate eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi

57

Dear Editor,
Festivals in India are generally celebrated with all the frills, and the same is true for Ganesh Chaturthi. Right from handpicking flowers and decking up puja rooms and Pandals, to making Modaks filled with coconut and jaggery, people tend to immerse themselves in a host of activities. However, often, during the course of the celebration, we don’t realise the extent of harm we might be causing to the environment. Many of Ganesha idols that are sold in the market are made of plastic, thermocol, POP, and other non-biodegradable materials, which when immersed in water bodies have a detrimental effect on both the plant and animal life. Even the rangoli colours available in the market which are used for decorative purposes, are made up of hazardous substances like mica, acids, and glass powders. Since these colours cannot be decomposed biologically, they tend to degrade the surrounding spaces. It might not sound very significant, but even the plastic used to pack or give away the prasad, adds to the existing pollution in the environment. For decoration, use only fresh flowers, diyas and electric bulbs. Avoid the usage of shiny ribbons, thermocol, plastic beads, etc, as they all end up as reject waste. For puja, use only fresh flowers, fruits, coconut, mango leaves, tulsi, grass, betel nut leaves.
Avoid purchasing betel nut, Haldi-Kumkum or other puja items in packets, as they typically cannot be recycled. Instead, buy the whole betel nut or buy Haldi-Kumkum in a box. Also do use a reusable bag when shopping. Immersion of Ganesha idols in lakes, tanks, rivers, and other water bodies is not good for the environment and marine life. Many-a-times, the idol does not dissolve entirely and leaves several pollutants behind. Hence, symbolic immersion at the comfort of your home is a better option. Any huge bucket or a pit can be used for this. Hence, this time around, let’s look at some ways in which we can celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with all the pomp and ceremony, but without harming the planet.
Jubel D’Cruz.

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