Yes, Diwali is here accompanied by its celebrations and extravagance. Diwali- the festival of lights brings with itself an unmatchable festivity all around. The festival signifying the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the divine over the base, has turned into a time for holidays and crackers in the recent years. Thus, the traditionalism of this festival is losing its significance in the real sense.
While these celebrations may seem fun in one sense, but their far-reaching consequences are not. Pollution level rises considerably, cracker debris litter the roads, and they cause health hazards to several elderly people, children as well as the dumb birds and animals. Have you ever thought of how badly we are messing with the ecosystem in the name of a festival? It is a big doubt that if we are heading into an irreversible situation from where we ever can recover.
So, it’s time for us to celebrate this beautiful festival with minimal environmental consequences. Here I can suggest you a few ways to ensure that this year’s Diwali is a pollution-free, yet a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
- Substitute candles and electric diyas with the traditional terracotta diyas, earthen lanterns, or lamps that are elegant and natural, as well as bio-degradable and cost-effective. This will also reduce electricity consumption to a great extent that usually reaches peak levels during this festival. You can also opt for LED light chains instead.
- Distribute Green Gifts to your loved ones that are eco-conscious. They can be feng shui plants, kitchen herbs, bonsai or terrariums. You can also go for jute bags, clothes or solar powered gadgets for decorations in Diwali.
- Decorate the floor of your houses with bio-degradable Rangoli using rice, pulses, flowers and leaves instead of using artificial colours. It is a great method to share food with the creatures around us like birds and ants. And, these items can later be used as compost for your garden. Try out the South Indian Kolam or the Bengali Alpana made with rice paste.
- You may gift sugar-free sweet-boxes this Diwali; but try to go for healthier food items like wheat kheer, fruit Sandesh, halwa, Honey hampers, tea boxes or whole grain (brown rice, millets etc) baskets. Further, if you are planning to organize a Diwali party, use earthenware, kullars, banana leaves and bamboo leaf plates to serve food to your guests.
- Finally, try to avoid burning your money by buying crackers. They may provide temporary happiness when enjoyed with, but, in the long run, it causes harm to the environment as well as to us.
The anti-cracker campaign has intensified over the years. The Supreme Court norms limit the intensity of crackers by 125 decibels. People have become aware of the environmental issues as well as their personal safety in lighting firecrackers. But, if you still can’t resist your craze of bursting firecrackers, opt for an eco-friendly and smokeless version which are now been produced by the firecracker manufacturers. They are made up of recycled paper and contain less chemicals as compared to the conventional firecrackers.
Some alternatives to the conventional firecrackers are listed below:
- BALLOON CRACKERS- Colourful balloons filled with colourful paper flakes can be blown and bursted to enjoy this special day. Bursting balloons won’t create as much sound as bursting firecrackers. The fun will be no less in fact.
- GLOW STICKS- Brightly coloured glow sticks are good alternative to firecrackers. They sparkle when waved without causing any injury or producing smoke. Glow sticks come in different colours and create a mesmerising view even from far off.
- BUBBLE WRAPS- Small children can enjoy bursting bubble wraps which they can stomp with their feet. The sound created by stomping will surely give them the fun of bursting crackers.
- WISH LANTERNS- Fly wish lanterns made up of coloured papers that are totally eco-friendly and harmless for both the kids and adults. These lanterns can be simple to stylish ones with different kinds of designs drawn on them. The sight of colourful paper lanterns in the sky will be much more charming than a sky filled with smoky firecrackers.
- VUVUZELA- Vuvuzela is a two-foot long plastic horn that makes a loud sound. The vuvuzela was popularized during the South Africa Football World Cup. It is absolutely a safe way to enjoy a celebration. But, because of its very loud sound, it is often not preferred as a good alternative to firecrackers.
- LED DANCE SHOW- If you prefer firecrackers because of their sparkling colours, you can arrange a dazzling LED Dance Show. The LED lights will surely create enough sparkle for you to enjoy your dance in Diwali.
It may be tough for many of the houses to divert their children from fireworks. Around 80% of overall firecrackers in India are manufactured in Sivakasi, mostly by children. Although, the firework manufacturers deny of any children being employed in their factories, evidences suggest otherwise. A survey conducted by a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in 2013 discovered that children aged 5-15 were working for more than 12 hours a day. So, is it justified to enjoy bursting fire crackers in Diwali at the cost of child labour on these innocent children who are ill-fated to work in such conditions by accident of birth? Absolutely not!
We must remind ourselves that the festival of lights can be celebrated in a much better way by spending time with our loved ones, donating the needy and enjoying in an eco-friendly way.