5 ways to make ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ a sustainable festival
Ganesh Chaturthi is widely celebrated in Goa by worshipping clay idols of Ganesha and getting together with loved ones. Lord Ganesha is the God of new beginnings, wisdom, intelligence and the remover of obstacles. So, this is a good time to start living a sustainable lifestyle and remove the obstacles we create for the environment.
The festival also involves offerings, sharing sweets, decorating the pandal and immersing the Ganesha in water bodies. Immersion of PoP idols, and other plastic waste, leads to lower oxygen levels in water and kills aquatic life. The state government banned PoP idols in 2013 and the common choice now is eco-friendly Ganeshas (can be found near Nageshi Temple, Ponda). But, here are 5 ways to go beyond eco-friendly idols and make this a sustainable Ganesh Chaturthi.
1. Resort to reusable bags
From carrying the small idol to puja items to gifting sweets, bags are always required. Skip the plastic bags this Chaturthi. Switch to the reusable ‘Maka naka plastic’ reusable cloth bags handmade with leftover fabric.
#MakaNakaPlastic by Sensible Earth is a local Goan movement aimed to reduce damage caused by single-use plastic, reduce carbon emissions by the fast fashion industry, and reduce female unemployment. The bags can be picked up and delivered.
PRICE: Rs 30 onwards
WHERE: Sensible.Earth, Bardez
CONTACT: +91 7977165012
Instagram: @makanakaplastic / @sensible.earth
2. Reusable plastic-free decor
Torans are traditional wall hangings that are used to decorate homes and attract the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. While they are usually hung above the doorway, they make a great backdrop in Ganesh pandals. Torans, by Meraki, are made using the macrame technique. They are plastic-free, washable and reusable all year round. They can be picked up and delivered.
PRICE: Rs 1,000 onwards
WHERE: Meraki, Margao
CONTACT: +91 8408964398
3. Organic puja items
Ghee, dhoop sticks, agarbatti and agnihotras are commonly used during puja of Ganesh. Candles and stands come in handy, too, apart from them being a good decorative item all through the year.
Find these plastic free at Saukhyam, a one-stop shop for all things natural, organic and preservative free. While delivery is possible only around North Goa, they can be picked up anytime.
PRICE: Rs 160 onwards
WHERE: Saukhyam, Porvorim
CONTACT: +91 8668726876
4. Handcrafted chocolate modaks
Chocolate modaks are a fad of late and loved by all ages. They are ideal for Prasad, apart from for gifting friends, family and colleagues. Find them at The Chocolate Party plastic-free, in lovely handmade paper boxes. These boxes can be reused as storage containers for dry products, table decor or gifting again. Pick up points include Panjim, Margao and Ponda. Delivery is possible all over Goa.
WHERE: The Chocolate Party, Margao
PRICE: Rs 250 onwards (per pack)
CONTACT: +91 9112042994
5. Segregate your waste
While the idea is to reduce your waste, some may still be created by the end of the festival. Segregating it at the source helps to keep it away from the landfills which release a lot of harmful gases, leading to global warming.
During this process, you may also learn that some waste is actually not waste. It could be reused. It may be someone else's resource so you can give it to them. It may also be possible to upcycle it. Flowers and other wet waste may be composted at home.
Finally, the remainder can be dropped at Ayya Waste Management, where they will recycle it.
WHERE: Ayya Waste Management, Miramar-Dona Paul Road
PRICE: Rs -10 onwards (You get paid when you give your waste)
CONTACT: +91 7004377422
(Heena Shah is an avid traveller and covers topics such as sustainable travel and lifestyle. Got comments, suggestions? Contact: Explorer.firstname.lastname@example.org)