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Festival season starts in August! After Raksha Bandhan (11 August this year), we start preparing for Gokulashtami (18-19 August) and Ganesha Chaturthi (31 August). Maharashtra government recently announced the easing of restrictions for the Gokulashtami (dahi handi) and Ganapathi festivities that were placed after Covid began. Though there is joy in celebrating in groups and as communities, we hope that you will make green choices as you plan for these special occasions.

We were disappointed to read that the use of Plaster of Paris idols is being allowed this year by Mumbai’s municipal authorities. We hope that the committee set up to create a policy for PoP use in the future, will put the environment at the forefront as they make their decisions. Celebrating your festivals in an eco-friendly manner is easy and just requires some caring thought and planning. Here are some tips:

  • Use the metal, stone or ceramic idols you already have at home
  • If buying new, choose earthen or unbaked clay idols, or those made of materials that will dissolve in the water, not PoP ones.
  • Choose idols that have non-toxic paint & decorations
  • Small idols can be immersed at home in a bucket or tub instead of water bodies.
  • Avoid single use items such as plates, spoons, bowls for prasad and refreshments.
  • If you must use disposable, use eco-friendly products
  • Do not purchase/use plastic bags to give prasad or other stuff in.
  • If you must use decorative lights, use LED stringed lights, to help save electricity.
  • Do not throw the used pooja flowers in the ocean or any water body.
  • Collect them with food waste or garden waste and compost them. (If you don’t compost, find a composting service or give them to a mali whose garden has a composting facility.)
  • Segregate and dispose off all waste responsibly – recycle
  • Re-think before purchasing unnecessary items for gifts or decorations. (Donate the money to a needy cause instead!)

Feel good about these small steps that will make a big difference to our planet! Share these tips with your friends and family!

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