10 Eco Friendly ways for Ganesh Chaturthi.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is just around the corner and is an important festival for Goans all across the state. While Lord Ganesha is also often described as the Reigning Deity of Ecology, in recent times the festivities that accompany this symbolic celebration and reverence for the Lord of Knowledge and Ecology is affected due to new trends that are being driven more by market forces than by religious conviction.
There is dire need to understand and practice simple ways and means by which we can minimize the impacts of our celebrations during this Ganesh Chaturthi, and I list ten simple points which can be put to practice in our environs for a safer and eco friendly Ganesh festival.
1. Do not buy Ganesh murti made of Plaster of Paris (POP); instead opt for natural, non-polluting material so that after immersions it does not pollute the water. Refrain from purchase of Ganesh murthis which are painted with oil paints and acrylic colors, as these are toxic in nature. Create awareness about this aspect especially amongst the youth and also the adults.
2. Refrain from purchase of new ‘Ghumats’, i.e. local musical instruments that are made from Monitor Lizard skins. Remember, the Indian Monitor Lizard is an endangered reptile and capture, sale and possession of the reptile or any of its body parts is illegal according to the Wildlife Protection Act. Instead opt for those, which use synthetic skins for making the same drums.
3. Say a Strict 'NO' to Thermocol, which is non-biodegradable & cause of soil, water pollution. The same goes for plastic sheets and wrappers, cellophane papers and all such material that is often used for decorations especially in Sarvajanik Ganesh mandals.
4. Do not use disposable, non-biodegradable cups & plates for giving Prasad during pujas, offerings and buffets. Instead propagate the use of areca nut plates or the traditional leaves that have been traditionally used in the past. Try & avoid generating garbage of all sorts.
5. Always use safe colors like turmeric, mehandi, rice powder, etc. for making Rangolis. Synthetic colors are not only toxic and harmful to pets and smaller creatures in the soil; they also remain in the environment after being disposed off- either in the soil or the water bodies where they end up in the last part of the festivities.
6. Switch on decorative lights during pooja and evenings only when necessary. Switch them off when not required. Use energy efficient CFL tubes instead of bulbs to save electricity. The need to realize the acute shortage of Power in the state and the country is utmost necessary and as responsible citizens we need to wisely use power even during the festivities.
7. Refrain from bursting firecrackers. It not only causes air & noise pollution, but also contaminates the soil and immediate surroundings in places where they are used in large quantities. Firecrackers that emit smoke and fumes are also harmful for many folk, especially children and elders and hence abstain the use of these types for a safer and healthier Ganesh festival.
8. Take care not to create noise pollution due to loud speakers. This practice not only creates noise pollution but also has a severe impact on the local wildlife including birds and small mammals.
9. Take care and ensure that the Ganesh murthi Immersion is non-polluting to water as far as possible. The material immersed should not be harmful to the life forms existing in the water. Refrain from disposing plastic decorations, synthetic matter and residue of garlands, etc in water bodies and rivers.
10.Understand the concepts of Ganesh Chaturthi in its true sense, especially the usage and display of the local biodiversity- in the ‘Matoli’, the cuisine and the social message of harmony and love for nature that is expressed through the hymns and bhajans that are sung during Ganesh festival.
Let us celebrate Ganesh festival in an eco-friendly manner & help keep our environment clean & green. Though difficult to start with, these steps will ensure that the festival not only has a minimal impact on our surrounding environment but will also make sure that our future generations understand the true concept of the festival so that they inherit it with respect & love towards our God of Knowledge and Ecology.