5 Ways To Celebrate An Eco-Friendly Diwali

A little tweak to the way you celebrate Diwali can make it an eco-friendly one. So, this festive season, be mindful, respect the environment. Here are five ideas to guide you in your green mission.

By Monali Bordoloi

5 Ways To Celebrate An Eco-Friendly Diwali

Do you wish for a smoke-free and breathe-easy Diwali this year, for your child? Then, it’s time you make a difference too. Begin by celebrating it more responsibly and in an environment-friendly manner.

Of course, Diwali is a time for togetherness and joy. And to share our happiness, this is a festival that we all want to celebrate with pomp and grandeur. But, do you know that it can be a nightmare for those who suffer from asthma? Post-Diwali, there are increased cases of respiratory diseases as air quality goes down considerably. In fact, people suffer from breathing problems even days after Diwali, as pollutants from firecrackers clog the air. Worse, the resulting noise pollution also takes a toll.   

How much of an impact does Diwali have on the environment? A study entitled 'The impact assessment of Diwali fireworks emissions on the air quality of a tropical urban site, Hyderabad, India, during three consecutive years', published in the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment in 2015 talks of just that. The report notes that ambient air quality deteriorated considerably after Diwali celebrations owing to the burning of firecrackers. The ozone concentration showed an average increase of 57 per cent while the nitrogen oxide and black carbon in the atmosphere increased almost three times, compared to a normal day. 

It is not just the environment that is affected, even infants and the elderly find it difficult to adjust to the high decibel levels of firecrackers. Not to mention the plight of pets. Most animals and birds have a traumatic time during loud celebrations.  

It is not too difficult to live a sustainable life and celebrate in a more eco-conscious manner, say Deepak and Deepika Durai, who run a creative space in Bengaluru. Deepak says, “We should all adopt an eco-friendly way of life and Diwali is the perfect occasion to kickstart that. There are many small ways in which you can bring back tradition, culture and sensitivity in our day-to-day life.”

If you want to make a change and celebrate Diwali differently, now is the right time. We will help you in your mission to make Diwali greener. Adopt these five eco-friendly ways and see the change it makes in your household.

Here are our suggestions to celebrate Diwali differently this year: 

1. Say no to crackers:

The best thing you can do for the environment this Diwali is to pledge not to burst firecrackers. Firecrackers pollute the air we breathe in, raises decibel levels and can also lead to serious burns and loss of vision. Hence, limit your purchases of firecrackers to the minimum. This way, you can cut down on both noise and air pollution. Moreover, discarded and burnt crackers add to the litter and dirty the surroundings. This Diwali, make a difference with your decision to shun firecrackers.

2. Go for bio-degradable rangoli:

Do you go all out with elaborate rangoli patterns for Diwali? You can make a change here as well — instead of using synthetic rangoli powder, use grains, rice flour or flowers to make the intricate patterns this Diwali. It can be as beautiful. By doing so, you are also being sensitive to the needs of ants and other tiny living creatures — they get to feed on these food-based designs, later!  

3. Give sensitive gifts:

Are you tired of seeing sweet boxes everywhere in the run-up to Diwali? You are not alone, we all get sugar-laden sweets for Diwali — often made with inferior ingredients. Most of the goodies we get as Diwali gifts are of no use either and add to the clutter. This Diwali, think before gifting family and friends. Instead of sweet boxes, gift potted plans, ethnic or terracotta jewellery, organic food items, etc. Buy what you know the recipient will use and also, appreciate it. 

Also read: Exotic Diwali Recipes: How To Make Apple Kheer 

4. Do away with gift-wrapping:

Do you get and give away gifts wrapped in bright-coloured paper for Diwali? Make a difference this year. First, do away with elaborate packaging and wrap your gifts in newspapers, instead. Plastic packaging and wrapping paper, harm the environment and add to the trash around us. Instead of glittery or shimmery wrapping, a hand-written card or note will add that personal touch.

5. Go green with decorations:

Make a few changes in the way you decorate your home this Diwali. Instead of going on a mindless shopping spree to buy cheap home décor items, try making some at home or buy a few quality pieces to adorn your home. You can make your home festive-ready with colourful clothes thuran (decorative door hangings)Don’t go overboard with electric lighting, simple traditional diyas look more elegant and lend a subtle beauty to the atmosphere.

5 Ways To Celebrate An Eco-Friendly Diwali

Here are a few other ideas to make your celebrations more sensitive towards the environment:

  • Make paper lanterns at home along with your child
  • Decorate your house with locally available flowers like marigold 
  • Light diyas with used cooking oil to save fuel
  • Give away old clothes and things you no longer use to the needy
  • Make your own Diwali sweets at home
  • Replace sweets with dried fruits as Diwali gifts  

Deepika Durai observes that it is definitely possible to celebrate Diwali responsibly. And it is important to do so, especially because our children learn from us, she points out. “Children are our future. The onus of teaching them to care for the environment, lies with us. Show them the way and watch how children happily adopt an eco-friendly way of life,” she adds. 

Diwali is special for every family. Naturally, you too will have your own unique way of celebrating this beautiful Festival of Lights. Do share your ideas for an eco-friendly celebration with us. Happy Diwali!

About the author:

Written by Monali Bordoloi on 17 October 2018.

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