While the celebratory spirit and excitement of Diwali is unmatchable, but it is imperative to celebrate the festival in a responsible manner with minimal consequence to the enviroment, keeping in mind the rising pollution levels. Hometriangle share some simple yet effective tips to celebrate Diwali in an eco-friendly way.
Diwali, the festival of Lights, is celebrated across India with the greatest pomp and fervour. Some like to keep their celebrations loud, some like it bright, while others like it quiet and cosy.
While these celebrations may seem fun, their far-reaching consequences are not. Air pollution levels rise to dangerous levels, energy and food wastage increases exponentially, plastic packaging and cracker debris litters the roads and several elderly people and animals suffer from anxiety attacks.
Here are some of the ways in which we can contribute to the well-being of our environment :
1. Go Earthy.
Substitute candles and electric diyas with the good old oil diyas that are bio-degradable, cost effective, traditional and very beautiful. Wheat dough, orange peels, coconut shells and seashells are some great options for DIY diyas. Plus, you will also be contributing in reducing the electricity consumption that normally reaches sky high levels during Diwali. If you would rather have electric lighting anyway, opt for LED lights.
2. Crack it Thoughtfully
As firecrackers leave the city hazy, noisy and littered with waste the next morning, the best way to celebrate Diwali is to go firecracker-free. Sure, for many of us Diwali is synonymous with bursting crackers and it’s kind of hard to give up on the fun, but there are enough reasons why we shouldn’t be hanging on to crackers. The pollutants associated with firecrackers make it difficult to breathe and are linked to many respiratory problems as well. The loud noises and blinding flashes also give severe anxiety attacks to animals and birds.
Here are some eco-friendly alternatives to crackers :
- Take the community children for a walk in the neigbourhood and collect dry leaves, grass and twigs. Then celebrate the festival of lights by lighting a bonfire on the terrace or in an open space and serve homemade sweets and sherbet.
- If you don’t have the space for a bonfire, fill colourful balloons with glitter and small pieces of bright coloured paper. Spend the evening bursting them with your family and friends.
- You could also opt for eco-friendly crackers that are made from recycled paper. The noise produced by these crackers is also within the decibel limits set by the Central Pollution Control Board.
3. Biodegradable Rangoli
In the olden days, rangolis were made to feed the birds. This Diwali, go back to doing that. Instead of using artificial colours, make your rangoli with rice and pulses; its a great way of sharing food with the creatures around us, like small birds and ants. Use flowers like chrysanthemums, roses, lotus and leaves to give the finishing touches to your rangoli – you can use them the next day to make compost for your garden. The spectacular south Indian kolam and Bengali alpana, made with rice paste, are also great options.
4. Green Gifts
Talking of a green Diwali, what could be better than gifting a plant? Kitchen herbs, feng shui plants, air purifying plants, bonsai, terrariums make great eco-conscious gifts. Some other eco-friendly gift options are jute bags, khadi clothes, and solar powered gadgets. To give the gift a personal touch, make a card from recycled paper to go with it. Also, remember to pack your gifts in newspapers instead of shiny plastic wraps. After all, gifting anything that supports the green cause is always special!
5. Go Local
Diwali is considered to be a great time for shopping as it is an old tradition to buy new products. However, its always suggested to buy things which are required for the festival instead of splurging on items which do not make sense. Also, buy local products instead of buying foreign products which are made of plastics and laminated foils which release dangerous toxins.
6. Homemade Savouries
Give the sugar loaded sweet-boxes a miss this Diwali. Honey hampers, exotic tea boxes, and whole grain baskets (with millets, brown rice etc) are some awesome gifting options that are not only healthy, but are also unique and memorable. You can also go old school and make sweets at home (you can also try healthier alternatives like fruit sandesh, carrot-beetroot halwa and bulgur wheat kheer)
Also, if you are organising a Diwali party at home, use earthenware and biodegradable utensils instead of plastic disposable. Welcome drinks served in kullars and lunch served on banana leaves or bamboo leaf plates are great ways to give an eco-friendly twist to your party!
7. Eco-Friendly home makeover
Many people opt for refurbishing their homes during Diwali to lend a fresh look by painting their walls, buying new upholstery and furnitures. Hence, to ensure eco-friendliness, go for items which release less greenhouse emissions at home. Its always advisable to opt for water or oil-based paints with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) if your planning for painting your home. Further, if yor planning to change furniture accessories, opt for bronze ones instead of aluminium os steel as bronze is a recycled product.