One of the most celebrated festivals of Hindus is Ganesh Chaturthi. It is celebrated every year with great enthusiasm in honour of Lord Ganesha, the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, on Shukla Chaturthi of the Hindu month of Bhadra. As per Hindu legends, on this day, Lord Ganesha, along with his mother, Goddess Parvati, arrived on earth from Mountain Kailash. It is a ten-day festival during which Lord Ganesha, the God of intelligence, wisdom and good luck, is worshipped. The temples and pandals with large idols of Lord Ganesha are decorated, and people visit them to pay their reverence and seek blessings. People also bring idols of Lord Ganesha to their homes with full respect and worship them during these ten days. This year, Ganesh Chaturthi is falling on Friday, the 10th of September, 2021.
As per Hindu ideology, installing and worshipping the Ganpati idol at home brings positive vibes; removes all worries and negative energies, and all the wishes of the devotees are fulfilled by the Almighty. Hence, according to their financial capacities, the devotees bring different types of idols of Lord Ganesha for worship at their homes. At the end of the ten-day festivity, these idols are immersed in running water with due reverence. But these days, owing to pollution hazards, to safeguard our environment and in accordance with the norms set by law, one should celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in a very eco-friendly manner. The top seven such ways to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi during 2021 are as under :
1. One should create or buy eco-friendly Ganesh idols only, made of mud, clay, paper mache, activated charcoal, vegetables or coconut shells. For decorating the same, one should use only natural colours made from wheat, flour dough, and other natural materials. After immersion, they are absorbed in water and do not leave any type of pollution that may cause environmental hazards. All other types of idols made of chemicals, Plaster of Paris, Plastic, Thermocol etc., which are non-biodegradable, shall be avoided as they threaten our environment, surroundings, plant & water bodies.
2. Numerous pandals are built up at various places to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. Now the fact is that more pandals lead to more noise pollution, and a huge amount of garbage is left after the festivity. In order to reduce all these, instead of making different small places, a huge pandal shall be set up for community viewing. People from nearby can come and celebrate the festival collectively, which shall ultimately lead to fewer immersions and pollution. The height of the Ganpati statue, which you shall buy online or in-store, should not be huge and should be restricted to a few feet only, as huge idols consume more material and take time to get dissolved in water after immersion. Also, transporting the large idols requires large trucks, which cause hindrance in smooth traffic movements.
3. During Ganesh Chaturthi, the temples and pandals are aesthetically decorated. To keep pace with the eco-friendly festival celebrations, chemical free colours such as Turmeric, rice powder, etc., should be used to apply colours to each other and create rangolis & other designs. Natural Flowers and paper flowers should be used for decoration. No plastic decorative items should be used. It shall help in conserving the environment and be a boon to the health of mankind.
4. While visiting the temples and pandals, people carry fruits, sweets and other offerings in convenient plastic bags. It must be ensured that plastic plates, etc., are used for all these no plastic bags, as they end up in large garbage that chokes the water and plant life. All should use only eco-friendly bags made of cloth, jute etc. which are bio- gradable. For servings, one should prefer natural plates like banana leaves over plastic ones.
5. During Ganesh Chaturthi, all temples and pandals use loudspeakers for announcements and playing religious songs etc. These loudspeakers all together generate loud voices and cause great noise pollution, which affects children, patients, aged persons etc., at their homes, hospitals, old age homes, respectively. Hence, these loudspeakers should be restricted to a limited time and should be used slowly and subtly so that all people at the place enjoy, but no one gets disturbed from the same. Also, Fire bursting during these festivities should not be adhered to as it causes a lot of threat to public health due to smoke.
6. There are many more ways by which the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi can be eco-friendly. All the flowers used to decorate the temples and pandals should be buried in a pit to decompose and turn into manure for plants. Another great thing to do is to lit the decorative electrical fittings during the nighttime only. During other times, minimum use of lights should be done. Furthermore, with improvements in technology, we can replace the traditional bulbs with CFL’s. It shall help in conserving energy. In addition to this, awareness among all should be developed towards being eco-friendly. For the same, encouragement through prizes for promoting eco-friendly ways may be undertaken.
7. The last phase of Ganesh Chaturthi is Ganpati-Visarjan. To conserve our water bodies, artificial ponds may be created where symbolic immersion of Ganesh idols is done instead of natural sources of water. It will help in saving our rivers and water bodies from pollution. Furthermore, it shall also minimise traffic rush on the roads. Thus the blessing of Lord Ganesha shall penetrate throughout our surroundings.
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