Holi is the festival of colours and joy. It is a time when a lot of tourists come to Goa to celebrate through parties, that may be by the beach. It is the time to get together and welcome the season of spring.
But, in order to see those flowers actually bloom, for the festival to actually signify the triumph of good over evil and showcase the power of love and friendship, the way it is celebrated must change. By that, I mean going back in time, to the time when less waste was produced.
The modern ways include playing with water, throwing balloons around and using colours that contain chemicals.
According to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in 2019, around 1,25,000 tonnes of waste was generated during the Holi festival in India, out of which 1,000 tonnes were plastic waste.
This waste includes plastic bags, water balloons and other items that are commonly used during the festival.
The CPCB report also stated that the waste generated during Holi contains hazardous chemicals, heavy metals and other pollutants that can contaminate the soil and water bodies.
With Goa being a coastal state and crowds increasing at this time of the year, there is an urgent need to be conscious about the lives around us, including the ones in the ocean.
Now is the time to make that switch and here is how you can do it.
USE ECO-FRIENDLY COLOURS
The commonly used colours contain harsh chemicals that affect people as well as the environment.
Switch to powder or liquid colours that are made traditionally from flowers, herbs, and other natural ingredients.
Buy them locally and plastic-free to reduce that carbon footprint. You can also make them out of turmeric, beetroot, and henna along with water at home.
Water is used generously during this celebration. Skip the hose, sprinklers and water guns.
Whether it is by itself or with colours, it is best to use water by the bucket. This helps keep track and limit the usage of water. What would be even better is skipping the water and using dry colours.
SKIP THE BALLOONS
Balloons kill way more when they slip out of the hand and spill. This is because they are made of plastics and do not biodegrade. This means they can live on this planet for hundreds of years, choking wildlife and entangling marine animals to death.
They also cause air pollution by releasing harmful chemicals and dyes into the air; thus, affecting human health when inhaled. What is even worse is that their production involves the use of scarce resources like petroleum and natural gas.
AVOID SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
Say no to single use plastics at parties and get togethers. Skip the straws, plastic glasses and plastic-lined paper plates at parties. Go for reusables as much as possible.
Carry your own reusable steel straws, glass, cutlery and crockery to go zero waste in that sense. For decor, use reusable buntings or things made of cloth.
DISPOSE OF WASTE RESPONSIBLY
You know by now that when waste is not disposed of systematically, you will find it in landfills for years, producing harmful leachates and greenhouse gases.
So segregate it, compost the biodegradable ones, and give the remaining to your local waste management centre for recycling or reusing. If the water released is chemical free, reuse it in your garden or down the flush.
There is always more joy in knowing you have made conscious choices for yourself, the ones around and the generations to come. And, that all species can live peacefully with love.
Have a happy Holi!