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10 ways to celebrate Diwali that is eco-friendly and sustainable

With growing concerns about air pollution across cities in India, it is time that each individual did his best to reduce carbon footprint this festival



The Festival of Lights is just a couple of days away. There is immense enthusiasm to celebrate it with a lot of fanfare and bursting firecrackers. It has been two years since people have been able to honour any festival due to COVID-19. However, the truth is that students and parents alike need to be more judicious in their approach to celebrating Diwali.

Anita Yadav, Principal at Apeejay School in Sector 15, Faridabad says that as a school, we have always believed in sustainability when it comes to celebrating festivals and Diwali is no different.

“We encourage our students to celebrate Diwali in a manner that doesn’t disturb the neighbours and to focus on the importance of reducing noise pollution”

Anita Yadav, Principal at Apeejay School in Sector 15, Faridabad

“We have been promoting among students to celebrate environmentally conscious Diwali as we want our students to learn the need to protect the environment. We tell them about depleting resources and how to replenish those. During this week, before Diwali, we have been having various activities promoting eco-friendly Diwali. We had held a rangoli making activity for junior classes in which we used coloured sawdust to make the same. For toran making, we encouraged students to use leaves and a bit of paper as well,” Yadav said.

The school had a diya decoration activity as well where the students had to use earthen diyas available in the market and then decorated them with eco-friendly paints.

A new concept was introduced this year. “The Class 6 Science book has a chapter: Fibre to Fabric. Children made greeting cards after weaving the fabric. This correlated with the teaching in the classroom and the importance of the festival. We told our students to use these greeting cards to wish their family and friends,” Yadav added.

The school holds regular assemblies where the students are told about how necessary it is to have a safe Diwali and use eco-friendly materials. “While the Government issues guidelines on how to burst firecrackers, we also encourage our students to celebrate the Festival of Lights in a manner that doesn’t disturb the neighbours and to focus on the importance of reducing noise pollution,” emphasised Yadav.

She added that it is important to mould young minds from the beginning. “Young children are like soft clay and can be moulded the way you want them. We must teach them from a very young age the importance of a safe Diwali and ask them not to burst firecrackers. We do this from classes’ nursery upwards. We have a brainstorming session with them. Open communication among the teachers, students and parents goes a long way in delivering a message that stays with the child forever,” Yadav said.

Elsewhere at Apeejay College of Fine Arts in Jalandhar, the students had organised a two-day mela where students used innovative ways to recycle plastic and other discarded items to make unique Diwali gifts.

Simran Bawa, a final year student and the vice-head girl at the college, who is pursuing her BA, said that holding such activities go a long way in putting pressure on people to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali. She opines that firecrackers should not be allowed to be sold in the markets.

“In case we want to have better and cleaner air, we have to act now and banning firecrackers is the first thing. Government should take this up on a war footing. Organising melas is yet another way to drive home the message. We hope that our mela has been able to do its bit this year,” Bawa said.

Celebrating Diwali in a safe and eco-friendly manner has health benefits as well. Dr Rohit Mukherjee, consultant, Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine, Accord Super Specialty Hospital,  Faridabad, said that while the enthusiasm to celebrate Diwali is high among children and parents, it is better to tread with caution.

“Firecrackers are a source of pollutants like sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, these increase PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels which are harmful”

Dr Rohit Mukherjee, consultant, Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine, Accord Super Specialty Hospital, Faridabad

“We must take an oath and stay away from crackers that create pollution. Crackers are a source of pollutants like sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Both these increase the PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the air. With the stubble burning now on the anvil. The added bursting of crackers is only going to add to the woes of the people, especially the children and the elderly,” Dr Mukherjee stressed.

He suggested that there are other ways to celebrate Diwali. These include lighting diyas and candles outside the homes. “If people must burst crackers, parents can probably buy eco-friendly ones that are available. A word of caution here – don’t buy phuljharis, anars and chakris – they emit the maximum pollutants into the air,” Dr Mukherjee warned.

Here’s is how one can celebrate a safe Diwali and have fun

  • Light diyas and candles with family and friends.
  • You must buy crackers only from authorised dealers and those that are eco-friendly.
  • Always keep a bucket full of water to douse any fire. In case of any burn injury immediately pour water and then put the area under running water for 10-15 minutes.
  • Apply ointments like petroleum jelly or Aloe Vera; one can apply over-the-counter creams like Burnol or silver nitrate.
  • If the burn is more than a cm, immediately rush to the nearby hospital for treatment.
  • Instead of burning crackers every day, choose one and burst them only for an hour.
  • Use eco-friendly material to make gifts for family and friends.
  • Don’t wear clothes that are loose and have long trails, chances of such clothes catching fire are higher.
  • Wear cotton or woolen clothes. If a girl has to wear a dupatta ensure it is tightly tucked in and pinned.
  • Do not burst firecrackers that have been stored away from last year. The chances of misfiring are high.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.

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