Our traditions have often collided with the environment, especially during the festive seasons. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when the biggest festival of them all, the festival of lights, is around and the pollution-o-meter goes into full high alert mode. Diwali brings with it several kinds of disastrous pollutions and thus does some major damage that has long lasting effects. Not only do the noise levels spike beyond normal but along with them air smog, waste produce, plastic clogging etc. also take part in damaging the environment. We might not see it but we have all felt the coughing and rattling that comes post Diwali, especially for those of us having sensitive lungs. Even the animals at your home can be seen shrinking into the corner due to all the excessive noise.
But, hope isn’t lost because there are certainly many ways available with us to make Diwali a truly enjoyable, safe, clean and an eco friendly festival. Just a few adjustments and new traditions need to be involved into your regular plans to celebrate the true spirit and magic of Diwali, an eco-friendly Diwali! In fact, most of them are taken from what our ancestors had been doing! Here are a few of such tips on how to make your Diwali an eco-friendly Diwali- for the sake of yourself, your children and your pets!
Diwali Lighting, Environment Style- the first step towards eco-friendly Diwali!
Every year along with pollution levels, electricity consumption also increases. Naturally with this, the electricity bills also see a rise. This is because, for the most part, we decorate homes and buildings with expensive electric bulbs and lighting products. Not only are they expensive but with them also comes the hazard of short circuiting and breakage. Don’t forget the headlines of next day’s newspapers each year after Diwali that inform us about fire breakouts in different parts of the city! On the top of it, the replacement of the defective lighting products each year contribute a sizable amount to your Diwali shopping expenses. However, said all that, its obvious, without lights there can really be no festival of lights after all. Here’s what one can do to tackle all these issues and enjoy lights, an economic Diwali budget and conservation of electricity too!
Use traditional Diwali Diyas
Opt for diyas instead of bulbs. The bio-degradable diyas naturally don’t consume as much energy and are safer when handled and placed carefully. And you can get a whole lot of decorative diyas for amazing Diwali decoration of your home! Diyas can always be reused in the coming years any anything reusable is definitely an eco-friendly product.
Get some Amazing Diwali Lighting Ideas
Use energy efficient LED bulbs
Use alternatives to traditional bulbs like LED bulbs that are safer and cost very less. LED lights are easier to manage for everyone and LED’s can be reused every year, they last for a long time. So, spending a little more amount of money on LED bulbs one year can save you a lots of money in the coming several years!
Go for community lighting in place of individual lighting
If you wish to decorate your apartment building, it would make sense to opt for a community bought solutions like LED lights that drape the whole building instead of each house getting their own equipment. This not only divides the economic burden but also makes your building look magnificent! Individual lighting of each flat or housing unit not only increases the consumption of electricity but also individual household costs.
Avoid or limit crackers for an eco-friendly Diwali
A major chunk of the Diwali expenses at most homes are covered by the crackers. Adults and children both like to have as much crackers with them as possible after all who doesn’t enjoy seeing a sky lit up with bright colours on a Diwali night. Although everyone should avoid crackers on Diwal but despite the safety and environmental hazards that Diwali crackers bring with them, their consumption seems almost non-negotiable for many. But there is an alternative to this method too, which would not only reduce the budget given to crackers but also will bring more joy to the whole community.
Start having cracker free Diwali
Community celebrations do not have to be limited to crackers only as children can also be taught to take responsibility of each other and celebrate Diwali with sweets, dances, community games and other interesting activities instead of just blowing crackers. Let them do some interesting activity loved by them like flying kites, playing outdoor games etc. instead of bursting crackers. It is understandable that such a thing cannot be expected to be picked up soon by kids but it will eventually catch up indeed if only elders take initiative and develop this habit of not bursting crackers on Diwali.
Burst crackers with community if can’t avoid it
Opt for bursting crackers with the whole community or family instead of each home buying their own set and thus causing more pollution. When everyone would opt for bursting crackers together they can decrease the buying volume by a huge margin and also maintain better safety with adults monitoring the children better together.
Use eco-friendly crackers if can’t avoid them
Fire crackers increase the level of haze, noise littered papers all around. If can’t avoid crackers on Diwali, opt for eco-friendly crackers made from recycled papers instead of the traditional crackers. Ensure noise produced by your crackers is within the decibel limits set by the Central Pollution Control Board.
Colouring the World Safely- make eco-friendly rangoli this Diwali
A major source of pollution that comes with Diwali is the one that is caused due to using artificial colours. Not only do such colours choke your nostrils but afterwards they pollute the water that is used to clean them off too. Most of these colours are synthetic in nature and damage lungs in an extremely harmful way. Even though Rangolis are an inseparable essence to the flavour of Diwali, one does not necessarily have to use synthetic colours for making it. Here are a few tips for making colourful and environmentally safe Rangolis.
Use homemade natural colours for Diwali rangoli.
One can be surprised when they see how many colours can actually come from the kitchen itself like red can be taken from Kumkum, Yellow from Haldi, Brown from some spice powder like jeera powder and Green from henna. In addition to these colours one can also use a variety of flowers to add to the display.
Make huge community rangolis
Opt for making huge Rangolis with other community members instead of making several small ones. This would not only help increase the beauty of the Rangolis but also help in keeping a spot especially for Rangolis so that no one tramples them and eventually this area can be cleaned with using less water and effort as everyone can work together. As a bonus, have fun with your neighbors while making these rangolis!
Decorating Homes in an Eco-friendly Way- a creative twist to Diwali
Diwali decoration is one of the most awaited activities on Diwali that people love to do. They amazingly decorate homes on Diwali beginning right from cleaning and painting homes to buying and embellishing each and very corner of their homes with a whole lot of decorative items and lighting! All this can still be done, just in an eco-friendly manner! For example, while cleaning your house before Diwali, just don’t easily dump things. Instead give these things that you can’t use any longer to the underprivileged people.
Colour your homes with healthy and eco-friendly paints
Diwali brings with it painting siestas when people rush to get their homes painted and cleaned. Each year many homes use paints that are not only polluting the air but also damaging the lungs of the occupants of this home. But, why go through the pain of paying for an expensive paint job which eventually hurts you both financially and health wise as well as is harmful to your environment. Instead there are many alternatives that one can use including the non-toxic, lead free as well as organic paints and varnishes. These eco friendly paints do not harm the environment and last longer than normal ones.
Use hand-made lamps and paper lamps to decorate homes at Diwali
Plastic and other hazardous materials are not at all eco-friendly. Use paper hangings and decorations to decorate your home for Diwali. If possible make lamps with paper and other recyclable materials or even waste materials. These will make your home look different and beautiful too. Save these decor materials for next year as well. Instead of buying air fresheners, try using incense sticks to amazingly make your home aromatic.
Take help from your kids in making Diwali decorative items
Assign your children the job of making several crafts to decorate your home. Not only would it look beautiful but you would be surprised at the creativity that a child has for their own homes. This has another advantage, kids would indulge less in bursting crackers as they would be busy honing their skills and giving creativity a chance to decorate your home differently!
Making it a sweet Diwali for all- Diwali sweets the eco way
Each Diwali, the consumption of sweets increases and so do the pollution hazards associated with it. Plastic wraps that cover the boxes eventually end up in the sewage system and increase the piles of plastic garbage at dump yards. Along with them, many news articles circulate where shopkeepers use unhealthy products in their sweets. No one of course wants to hurt their loved ones with harmful gifts and thus there are a few alternatives which anyone can follow to make it a sweet and safe Diwali.
Make sweets at home or get them made as per your instructions
Instead of buying products from sweets shops why not make some sweets at your own home? If however engaging a caterer or sweets shop, better idea would be to get sweets made with personally selected items. It would not only cost less but one can also make personalized items this way. Wastage will be lesser that is certainly an eco friendly way to eat sweets!
Gift sweets in eco-friendly containers
Diwali is such an occasion when everyone gets and gives sweets to their friends, relatives, and even employees and clients, sometimes along with other Diwali gifts. Opt for distributing sweets or any other food in reusable containers or paper bags. Plastics must be avoided at all cost because it would only increase the junk that comes with Diwali.
Celebrate with Community, and with lesser privileged society
Try having community celebrations during Diwali. Also help the needy who cannot afford sweets and new clothing. It helps in celebrating the true spirit of Diwali. Community celebration, on the other hand, reduces the costs due to sharing and there is also a lesser pressure put on resources. Also this method would teach a wider section of the society about the necessity of not using plastics and celebrating with one and all.
Any such big festival as Diwali should also be more about giving back to the society too. Children learn from such examples of celebrating with lesser privileged sections of society. Diwali, slowly but surely, should imprint in their minds about being spreading happiness instead of just blowing crackers and watching lights.
Handmade Gifts and Greeting Cards- special eco-friendly Diwali gesture
Sweets aren’t the only thing that can be made with a personal touch. Opt for giving homemade gifts like bags, jewelery, decorative items, paintings, craft based items etc. Make Diwali greeting cards yourself to give a special feeling to your loved ones. Making a gift Instead of buying expensive stuff from the market always make the recipients feel special. Not only would it express your love and care better but will also help the environment by avoiding more junk.
Buy eco-friendly, if can’t make them
Not always will you be able to make gifts or cards at home. But you can always make your Diwali shopping eco-friendly too. Buy less plastic items. Also do not buy use-and-throw decoration items. Try to buy recyclable products.
Be Safe on Diwali
With all these tips, this Diwali would eventually become an eco-friendly Diwali for you and your loved ones. But one also needs to keep in mind some crucial facts about Diwali. Safety should be another major concern along with having fun and being happy. Children specially should be guided and monitored at all times. Fire safety should be a priority whether you are celebrating on your own or with many others.
But why to celebrate eco-friendly Diwali!
An eco-friendly Diwali is not just about reducing the consumption of fire crackers or other pollution increasing material but also about eliminating the necessity of using any such stuff in the future too. Alternatives must be exercised over what has been traditionally done and eventually a cleaner Diwali would enter the sphere of celebration along with good health and prosperity. Diwali, as a festival is grandiose and thus it has become more about polluting rather than celebrating but therein is the opportunity available with us. If we manage to reverse the trend of polluting during Diwali to helping the environment during Diwali, this festival will become the inspiration for all other celebrations, probably in the whole world. With that in mind let’s celebrate and wish each other a Happy Diwali, the eco-friendly way for sure!