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Diwali is the Indian festival of lights that is celebrated with much grandeur every year. It is an auspicious occasion in every Indian household, where families get together to decorate the houses with ‘diyas’ (sacred lamps), colourful candles, battery-powered glimmer lighting, and light firecrackers to celebrate the occasion.
The Diwali festival is said to have its origins in the epic ‘Ramayana’, where the people of Ayodhya decorated the entire city to welcome Lord Rama after he defeated Ravana in the war and rescued Sita.
Hence, Diwali is undoubtedly one of the most favourite festivals of Indians, who leave no stone unturned to celebrate it in the grandest manner possible.
But of late, this excessive and polluting Deepavali celebration has been criticised by environmentalists and nature lovers, because of the bad effect of Diwali on the environment.
According to a survey by the World of Chemicals, Diwali firecrackers emit harmful pollutants such as lead, magnesium, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrates in enormous amounts every year.
Dense smog hangs over cities for days after the festival, choking people and other living organisms and causing serious respiratory ailments. Nitrates in the air cause skin problems, rashes and irritation.
New Delhi was marked as being in a ‘severe’ condition after Diwali in 2017 in terms of pollution levels. This city of almost 16 million people showed an alarming level of air pollution with PM 2.5 content after Diwali celebrations in 2017.
Although the Supreme Court tried to curb air pollution by banning the sale of firecrackers in the Diwali month, it hardly made a dent. Given the circumstances, where pollution is the sole cause of 9 million deaths every year globally, an eco-friendly Diwali is the need of the hour.
This article on green Diwali and ways to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali will provide eco-friendly Diwali information to help you celebrate the Diwali festival without causing harm to yourself or others.
After all, for a festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil, what could be better than safeguarding the health and welfare of each other, right?
How To Celebrate Eco-Friendly Diwali
A green Diwali celebration involves celebrating Diwali in the most eco-friendly manner possible. Citizens and environmentalists all over the country have joined hands in recent years to come up with a number of green Diwali ideas.
Some of these include promoting eco-friendly Diwali products, such as environment-friendly crackers that are not as harmful to the environment as regular fireworks.
Even celebrities have advocated an entirely cracker-free Diwali to curb pollution. However, it’s hard to change people’s habits, so if you love to burst crackers, you can always choose ones that cause less pollution.
So how can we celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali? This article offers eco-Diwali tips and actionable ideas for eco-friendly Diwali celebrations. Learn how to celebrate Diwali using sustainable alternatives and age-old traditions that are coming back into fashion.
Eco-Friendly Crackers: What Are They?
Do eco-friendly crackers really exist? Yes, they do! The Indian Government is working really hard to promote the sale of firecrackers that claims to reduce the PM content by 30%.
In Delhi, the Supreme Court has already banned the use of firecrackers, except environment-friendly ones, that too within a two-hour time frame.
What are eco-friendly crackers and how do they reduce air pollution? Here are 7 essential things you should know about green firecrackers.
- Environment-friendly firecrackers were developed by the scientists at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
- These are also cheaper than the regular firecrackers, whose prices often go through the roof during Diwali.
- Green firecrackers are called by several names such as SAFAL (Safe Minimum Aluminium), STAR (Safe Thermite Cracker), and SWAS (Safe Water Releaser).
- Non-polluting crackers emit water vapour and air, which suppress dust and also dilute harmful gas emissions, thus reducing pollution to a large extent.
- The SWAS crackers reduce PM content by 30-35% by eliminating the use of sulphur and potassium nitrates, while the STAR crackers reduce it by 35-40%. SAFAL reduces the use of aluminium.
- The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation is currently testing these CSIR crackers to ensure their safety and stability.
- Local vendors, however, are not aware of these developments in the field of eco-friendly firecrackers.
This Diwali, you can shop for E-crackers or E-Ladi, which are also being developed by the CSIR. These electronic crackers generate light and sound effects through a high-voltage electrostatic discharge.
All you have to do is heat the thermal switch, and the cracker will burst, offering the same excitement of bursting a conventional firecracker.
3 Go-Green Diwali Decoration Ideas Using Eco-Friendly Diwali Products
In recent years traditional Diwali decorations have given way to the use of LED lightings and attractive plastic lamps because of their eye-catching beauty and ease of use.
However, these products are generally made of cheap plastic, which is not environment-friendly at all. If you have already decided to go green, why not opt for traditional home decorations for Diwali, which won’t have any environmental side effect?
The go-green Diwali decoration ideas below will show you how to celebrate green Diwali, without compromising on the fun and festivity.
1. Buy Earthen Lamps And Lanterns For Home Decoration
Poor people in rural areas put in great effort to carve beautiful designs on traditional earthen lamps and lanterns. These Diwali lights made in India have been popular for generations when they were regarded as both beautiful and cost-effective.
No LED lighting can match the rustic beauty and appeal of earthen lamps if you have the eyes to recognise its beauty. This Diwali, decorate your house in a natural way with the help of these amazingly beautiful lamps and lanterns.
2. Opt For Eco-Friendly Rangoli Materials
No Diwali home décor is complete without a Rangoli, a bright and colourful design created with the help of vibrant colours in powdered form.
This Diwali, make it a point to use only natural and eco-friendly Rangoli colours to create a green Diwali Rangoli, one that has no adverse effect on the environment. Now, what do you mean by natural colours?
Look around your kitchen. You will have all the ingredients there, ranging from turmeric powder to other spices and different types of pulses.
You can also use natural KumKum and fresh flowers to take the Rangoli design a notch higher. Even if you prefer colours, you can always buy herbal colours, instead of the chemical ones.
3. Invest In Eco-Friendly Diwali Gifts
Diwali is that time of the year when we expect amazing gifts from our families, friends and relatives. So, why not take this chance to promote the use of eco-friendly materials by sending eco-friendly Diwali gifts to your near and dear ones?
Many NGOs actively seek help during this time to promote exclusive hand-crafted products like beautiful wall hangings, eco-friendly lampshades, eco-friendly souvenirs, jute shopping bags, eco-friendly and decorative candles, gift hampers and more.
Give your kids eco-friendly gifts instead of the plastic ones that are so common.
Choosing eco-friendly and hand-made products not only serves your purpose of gifting your relatives a thoughtful eco-friendly Diwali gift but also helps craftsmen and artisans in need of money during the festival season.
10 Tips To Celebrate Diwali In An Eco-Friendly Way
Want to learn how to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali? Here are some eco-friendly Diwali ideas to promote a go-green Diwali and reduce, reuse and recycle waste this Diwali.
1. Avoid Bursting Crackers Or Use Eco–Friendly Ones
Although bursting crackers is a fun activity for most children, it’s up to you to teach your kids better ways of having fun. It is an unfortunate thing for them that they’re born into a world, already plagued by pollution, but you can do your best not to add to that problem.
Instead, offer them other ways of having fun such as playing games, creating beautiful art and craft with waste materials or helping you prepare sweets. It’s up to us as parents to teach them better ways of celebrating festivals such as having a cracker-free, safe Diwali.
2. Use Sustainable Crockery At Family Gatherings
This Diwali, avoid using plastic plates and glasses to serve your guests. Why leave this chance to be the talk of the town? You can now buy 100% eco-friendly and disposable plates and spoons made from areca leaf, and dispose of without harming the environment.
This will not only help you create less waste but also create a good impression on your guests, who will be impressed with your commitment to finding eco-friendly ways to celebrate Diwali.
3. Distribute Eco-Friendly Diwali Cards
Involve your kids in creative activities like crafting eco-friendly Diwali cards for their friends and relatives. Educate them on the importance of an eco-friendly Diwali, while they use sustainable materials to create their cards.
Fun activities like these will keep them busy and away from crackers, which will ultimately pave the path to celebrating eco-friendly festivals in the future.
4. Ask Your Children To Plant Trees On Diwali
There are always people who refuse to change and insist on celebrating Diwali by bursting crackers year after year. However, you can make a difference by helping your kids, and their friends, plant trees on Diwali and other festivals.
Educate them about climate change, and how planting more trees can help. If the next generation is made aware of the harmful consequences of global warming, there’s still hope for us.
5. Gift Potted Plants To Your Loved Ones
Any Diwali gift made from plastic or synthetics will increase the amount of toxic waste, creating a burden on Mother Earth. Why not promote a sustainable Diwali by gifting beautiful indoor plants to your relatives, neighbours, friends and family members instead?
6. Create DIY Diwali Decorations
You can also save money and time by creating DIY Diwali decorations at home. Recycle old newspapers into create wall hangings, make ‘Torans’ out of old greeting cards, curtains from those vintage sarees you no longer wear, and so many more things.
In the video below, you’ll find more ideas to create DIY Diwali home decorations.
7. Use Fresh Flowers To Create Rangoli Designs
Avoid the harmful effects of the chemicals used in Rangoli colours by using fresh flowers to create beautiful designs. As mentioned above, you can also use kitchen ingredients to make safe and eco-friendly Rangoli colours, without generating toxic waste.
8. Avoid The Use Of Plastic Entirely
This Diwali, try to use plastic alternatives in everything you do, starting from crockery to gift wrappers and packages. Plastic is one of the most harmful toxic substances that pose a huge threat to the environment. Avoid it as much as possible.
Gift your kids’ eco-friendly gifts made from sustainable materials, replace plastic straws with eco-friendly and reusable straws for your home, and use paper lanterns instead of ones made from plastic or synthetic materials.
9. Prepare Diwali Sweets At Home
Go traditional and prepare the Diwali mithai and sweets and at home to avoid consuming the artificial colours that most shopkeepers use in their sweets to make them look attractive. Or switch to healthy, organic Diwali sweets that don’t harm the environment by using pesticides.
10. Make Diwali ‘Diyas’ At Home
Do you know how to make Diwali ‘Diyas’ from waste materials? Here’s one idea. You can use old, discarded CDs to create a shining globe by glueing them together and placing a fireless lamp or light bulb inside.
Now, hang these globes around the house and see the effect. You’ll be delighted by the way these sustainable Diwali lights light up your house for sure.
Here’s another way to make eco-friendly diyas at home using wheat flour.
Happy Eco-Friendly Diwali To You!
There are many ways of celebrating a green, eco-friendly Diwali. The more you learn about it, the more ideas you’ll come up with.
Planting trees, crafting gift items, preparing sweets at home, indulging in charitable activities, painting greeting cards, gifting handmade products to your close ones, are only a few of those ideas you can implement to make your Diwali eco-friendly.
Over time, you’ll find yourself becoming an inspiration for those who may have an inclination towards celebrating Diwali in an eco-friendly way but lack the ideas to do so.
I hope you found some useful ideas in this article on eco-friendly Diwali. Do you have any other idea to celebrate a sustainable Diwali with your friends and family? Please share those ideas with us in the comments section below.
Let us join hands to promote an environment-friendly Diwali for the benefit of our future generations, and say a big NO to pollution and plastic waste. Here’s wishing you and yours a very happy, safe, and eco-friendly Diwali!
Priya Florence Shah is the publisher of Naaree.com and the author of an emotional self-care book for women. In the book and online course, you’ll learn how to throw off the shackles of your own limiting beliefs, come into your power and design your destiny.
Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate or sponsored links. For more information, read our disclosure.
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