From Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja to Diwali, be it any festival, Indians celebrate it with a lot of fervor, gaiety and colors. However, normally the environment bears the brunt of these festivities. From polluting water, air and leaving behind a garbage trail, there is an urgent need to relook at how to make these celebrations less taxing for the environment. Here are some of the tips to make this Diwali a ‘Thodi Green – Thodi Red’ one:
Skip Bursting Crackers for a long time
Old habits die hard and incase of Diwali, it is impossible to break the traditional practice of bursting firecrackers. But the alarming impact on air quality caused by these crackers every year, the onus falls on us, the people, to either not burst these or atleast do so more responsibly by opting for less polluting ones and bursting it in an open area or a place away from residential areas.
My Garbage, My Responsibility
Besides dirtying the air, crackers are also responsible for the left over garbage. Just like maintaining cleanliness in the house during Diwali is considered auspicious, take the initiative to clear trash from your surroundings after the celebrations, as well. Do not wait for the municipal workers to collect and dispose the garbage. Also, do not engage in trash burning as it further pollutes the air. Substances like sulphur, aluminum, copper, and so on are added to the crackers to produce vibrant colour and sparkles. When burnt, these release poisonous gases like nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide in the air making it hard for people to breathe.
Let plastic waste, which is already choking water bodies and landfill, not worsen the garbage woes during Diwali. Ditch plastic wrapping on gifts, sweet boxes and firecrackers. Avoid usage of plastic bags when buying Diwali essentials, instead use paper or cloth bags during shopping. Collect all the discarded plastic items so that it can be disposed of properly or recycled.
Go green by gifting a sapling or a plant to your near and dear ones. Plants like spider plant, fern, ivy, peace lily can significantly curb the air pollutants present inside the house. These plants can naturally purify the indoor air by getting rid of the toxins. Other kind of eco-friendly gifts include cloth bags or khadi bags or items made out of waste. Gift eco-friendly candles that are bio-degradable made out of orange peels, coconut shells, wheat dough, etc. These degrade slowly without harming the environment.
Besides firecrackers emissions, the spike in pollution levels post Diwali is attributed to many factors like vehicular pollution and crop burning. Instead of adding the pollutants in air, ditch private transport and go with public transport. Cycle, walk or carpool as much as possible. Avoid travelling when the cracker bursting activity is at its peak hour to prevent adding to the emissions. When driving, roll your windows up and cover your mouth and nostrils.