How can you help make Goa's Carnival a more sustainable festival?

Festivals come with their own food, drink and products stalls that contribute towards large amounts of waste. So, what can you do to change that?
Making Goa's Carnival sustainable
Making Goa's Carnival sustainablePhoto: Heena Shah

The Goa Carnival is similar to the famous one in Rio, Brazil, and was introduced by the Portuguese over 500 years ago. Locals wait for it, while tourists come specially to experience this famous cultural festival.

The much-awaited festival is spread across cities and towns of Goa, where there will be a parade with floats. There will be lots of shopping, food and drink stalls — especially in Panjim on all the days.

The last day (February 21) is reserved for Panjim’s popular Red and Black Dance that everybody loves.

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Carnival attracts a large number of people each year. Consider how many people might purchase special clothes or masks each year, as well as throw away disposable plastic plates, spoons and glasses. Most of those materials will head to landfills if not recycled – except in Panjim.

Recycling and cleaning up waste consumes resources, but so does producing them in the first place. The Earth is running out of these limited natural resources, which means we need to be more sustainable if future festivals are going to happen at all.

A float depicting how plastic chokes sea life.
A float depicting how plastic chokes sea life. Photo: Heena Shah

Here's how you can help make Goa Carnival 2023 a more sustainable one.

This year, strict Standards of Procedures (SOPs) have been set for waste management at Samba Square, Panjim.

Cutlery and crockery made only from sugarcane bagasse (a material that is a by-product of the process used to extract juice from this plant), areca nut leaves or paper certified by competent authorities will be provided.

A float on 'Keep Goa Clean'
A float on 'Keep Goa Clean'Photo: Heena Shah

No plastic straws or other forms of disposable plastics are allowed. Paper cups must be disposed in the dry waste bins and all others should go into wet garbage.

Dylan Fernandes, the executive manager of the waste management cell of the Corporation of the City of Panjim (CCP) urges, ‘’Please dispose of your waste in respective bins as per the segregation system put in place to move a step closer towards zero waste events.”

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If you would like to reduce your impact on the environment further, bring along reusable plates and cutlery. Pack a stainless-steel straw, napkin and bottle of water in your reusable bag for all-day convenience.

When dressing up, choose clothing items you already own or borrow from friends instead of purchasing new ones.

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Carry a scarf or hat to use during the parade — it can get hot out there!

If you have old masks, bring them with you to the celebration; if not, make some new ones using recycling materials at home. If needed, buy a new mask and take great care of it so that it can be reused year after year!

When traveling to the festivities, consider carpooling as a way of saving on gas. If possible, take public transportation so that you don't have to spend any time looking for parking once you arrive at your destination.

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And, if you are interested in walking through the famous Latin Quarter of the Fontainhas neighbourhood during carnival, try taking this special tour called ‘Make It Happen: Fontainhas Carnival Experience.’

From February 18-20 (only those dates) you will be able to explore all aspects of Carnaval while enjoying your time there.

(Heena Shah is an avid traveller and covers topics such as sustainable travel and lifestyle. Got comments, suggestions? Contact:

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