Towards a greener Diwali

This festive season, Mumbaikars are opting for eco-friendly celebrations in order to save the environment.

It is that time of the year when the city lights up in myriad hues. But the festivity also results in noise and air pollution. In recent years, the rising levels of toxic air pollution have resulted in many opting to celebrate eco-friendly Diwali. “For the last five years, I have not been bursting crackers. We light diyas because that’s what the festival actually is about,” says Dahisar resident Madhav Chaudhary. Being Chemistry student Madhav feels the need to be more responsible as he knows the kind of chemicals the crackers have and how harmful they can be to the environment. “I am educated enough to understand how harmful it is for the future if we continue with this kind of celebration,” he says.

66-year-old Sewri resident and environmentalist Rita Maker is all set to celebrate a mindful Diwali this year with recycled products. From making gifts from upcycled plastic to decorating her house with rangoli made out of the same material, Rita is celebrating this festival with a message of good over evil. “Lighting lamps in the age of electricity is meaningless and colossal waste. The end result is worse,” she rues and adds that instead of fancy gifts, she is gifting indoor plants to her friends and relatives, “I have used upcycled plastic for rangoli in the house and diyas,” she shares.

As Union Minister Harsh Vardhan launched eco-friendly firecrackers, Kandivali based firecracker storeowner Anil Kamble shares that not many sellers have them. “There are very limited storeowners who have these crackers. I have heard that they are smoke-free and I believe this is good but they need to be produced in enough quantity so that they can meet the demand,” says Anil, to which consumer Aditya Bhatia adds that he would be excited to burn those crackers as they are eco-friendly. “As of now, I have only heard about it but if we get them available at a reasonable price, people would definitely take it,” says the management student.

In addition to the eco-friendly celebration at home and work, a section of society, mainly dog lovers, are marching to create awareness about noise-free Diwali to ensure a safe festival for dogs. “It is a festival of light and not necessarily this has to be a festival of air and noise pollution. We should be careful about the living creatures around us,” says Meher Abadian, the project leader from XR Mumbai that mainly works towards creating awareness about climate crises. She also adds that the two-day march in the city is an extension to the climate crisis awareness due to crackers and loud celebrations.

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