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The inconvenient truths about celebrating festivals irresponsibly

Our cultural identities are deeply enrooted in the festivals we celebrate, where we get an opportunity to display the elements of our rich culture and tradition. But, celebrating festivals in a way that is deteriorating the environment is completely irresponsible.
irresponsiblecapitalMythsButster – Anushree

There is hardly any festival left that can claim that it is not a contributor in distorting the natural balance. You talk about Holi and people waste gallons of water for no reason. Festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Dusshera majorly contribute in polluting water bodies. The age old tradition of Visarjan adds unwanted chemicals like gypsum, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium that reduces the level of oxygen in the water and affects the aquatic life.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) framed significant guidelines in 2010 for idol immersion in any water body. It states that one must use natural materials in puja. The irony is, although people are aware of the ill effects, they continue using poisonous colors because those are cheaper. Also, encroachment of narrow roads by the puja pandals causes congestion of traffic.

Delhi air quality has worsened after Diwali this year. Smoke from the burning of crop stubble, vehicular pollution, particulates from the non-stop construction work when amalgamated with the pollutants from the bursting of crackers, Delhi became a poisonous gas chamber. The aerosol releasing fire crackers have worsened the condition of the people suffering from asthma. The air quality has significantly dropped and people are exposed to an environment where they are at a greater risk of contacting pollution related diseases.

Besides this, noise pollution and solid waste dumped on roads, neighborhood and public parks make the scenario more malicious. In fact, exaggerated celebrations also add to the carbon footprints of power consumption, when the venues are extravagantly lit up for gatherings.

Though the government bodies and NGOs are striving hard to control the level of pollution by spreading awareness, but age old habits do not change until one is forced to do so. It is high time that a code of conduct for public celebration of festivals must be made mandatory. The broad framework must mention the ‘to do’ and ‘not to do’ things clearly. Then only the local police can keep a check on the activities that cause nuisance.

In Dicaprio’s documentary ‘Before the flood’, Obama says – “If we keep pushing, keep prodding, and most importantly keep educating the public there’s no reason why we can’t solve this problem in time,”

Ultimately, as responsible citizens of planet earth, it is our responsibility to use the resources judicially and in no case misuse them. Considering every aspect of nature, we must indulge in eco-friendly ways of celebrating festivals and condemn & report activities that are hazardous to our health in any way. The nuisance that is created during festivals is all propaganda and no such thing is written in any of the scriptures. Festivals are for merriment, holding on to the traditions and for reconnecting with friends and family. The boisterous and unethical celebrations only add up to the already chaotic space.

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