With Deepawali/ right by our side, we are sure that a lot of us have been preparing to celebrate it. Some of us have plans to visit some places while some of us have plans to enjoy ourselves with our friends and family. Along with this, we can assume that some of us have plans to celebrate Deepawali alone as well as staying far away from crowds and noises. Acknowledged that very few would want to celebrate Deepawali alone but we can’t cut them off the list.
Regardless of how you would want to celebrate it when we think of Deepawali and Tihar the first thing that comes to our mind are firecrackers and mandalas along with lots and lots of flowers and lights. This is what this festival is all about anyway. It is the festival of lights. Not to be morbid or anything but regardless of how you want to celebrate this festival, you have to admit that there will be a lot of trash after Deepawali just like every other festival.
With the concern over the environment growing day by day we have to think, what can we do to celebrate Deepawali without causing much pollution? Well, we are here to tell you just that. Follow us as we give you tips on how to celebrate Deepawali in an environmentally friendly way.
1. Avoid or Minimize Firecrackers
One of the first images that come to our mind when we think of Deepawali is firecrackers and this is a natural thing. But you have to keep in mind that firecrackers are basically explosives and although mostly safe, it can never be completely safe. Along with these explosions produce a lot of by-products that are harmful to the environment. Needless to mention all the smoke and carbon that is produced, the thing that remains after the explosive powder is burnt is also harmful to the soil as well as for humans as well. The fact that the loud noises cause some people severe anxiety is just a bonus.
So what can you do? Well the best way is to avoid buying firecrackers in the first place but we understand that it can be a hard thing so if you cannot avoid them completely, you can minimize it. This way not only will you help reduce air pollution by producing less toxic gasses but also noise pollution by eliminating the source of the sound.
2. Chemical Free Rangoli
Rangoli or Mandala is another thing that occupies the top space on our mind when we think of Deepawali/Tihar. Unlike firecrackers which were avoidable this one is not. As we know since the industrial revolution began, everything has chemicals and since Rangoli is basically an art made out of powder colors or dye, we can say that it contains a bunch of chemicals that cause both soil/land pollution as well as water pollution when they are washed away. However, it is not to say that all colors and dyes contain chemicals. Quite the contrary, there are a lot of brands of Rangolis which are totally Natural.
In this day and age, we do admit that it is somewhat hard to find natural colors without chemicals but they are cheaper and have almost no harm to the environment besides a bit of color on the water after you wash it. Since these Natural Rangoli colors are mostly made out of rock dust and plant extracts, you can be assured that it won’t cause any harm to the environment to cause pollution.
3. Diyo Instead of Electrical Lights
The first question that comes to our mind when we say “we should use Diyo’s instead of electrical lights” is why? Electrical lights seem cheaper and eco friendly? Technically the electrical bill that you accumulate while using these lights when compared to the amount you will invest in a diyo is a bit higher. Along with this, the colors can be irritating to the eye and it causes light pollution. Yes, light pollution is a real thing and it is when artificial lights distort the natural light system. We have to admit that the lighting that we use while Deepawali is more than what we use normally or more than what we need.
It can cause severe harm not only to humans but also to birds which rely on the natural lights to navigate and maintain their sleep cycle. Along with this, burning oil produces much less carbon than producing the same amount of lighting using electricity, and the less carbon we emit in the air, so using diyo instead of electrical lights also produces comparatively less air pollution as well.
4. Using Wish Lanterns Instead of Firecrackers.
For those who don’t know what a lantern is, it is a paper container with a thin film on top and a place to burn the fuel. The fuel is usually a waxy fuel which is perfect as it burns brightly and produces a lot of gas which is perfect to make this contraption fly for a while. Why is this better than firecrackers you may ask. The reason for this is the low production of harmful gasses and the natural composition of the materials. Kapoor is a natural fuel that produces fairly low amounts of harmful gas when compared to black-powder which is used in firecrackers.
Add the beautiful effect of a few of these flying into the sky and that it can be made at home along with the biodegradable materials used and this becomes the perfect material to substitute Firecrackers in the sky. If you have ever seen the Chinese new year festival then you may be able to get the beauty of the visual effects brought forth by a lot of these lanterns in the sky. So by using wish lanterns not only are you reducing the air pollution but also reducing sound pollution as we mentioned earlier.
5. Use Natural Flowers Instead of Artificial One
We are proud to say that this is not much of a problem for Nepal but still it should be mentioned. It is needless to say that artificial flowers are harmful to the environment and natural flowers are not. The main reason is that natural flowers can be decomposed. This is the main environmental benefit of using Natural flowers but along with this if artificial flowers are less in Demand then the chemical used to produce them will lessen and it will promote flower plantation in barren places which is always good for the environment.
Another thing is that if you cannot buy flowers, you can always plant a few of them on your terrace or veranda by just grafting a few from your neighbors. This is not just cheaper but unless you use the exquisite flowers it is virtually free. So for all of these reasons you can use natural flowers in Deepawali instead of artificial ones. This will not only reduce water pollution by reducing the production of waste chemicals but air pollution as well because of the reduction of the toxic gasses into the atmosphere.
6. Go Green With the Gifts
As we are on the topic of flowers it is natural to follow up with the topic of going green with the products that you use for gifts. What is meant by going green though? Well, the short answer is using the products or in our case gifting the products which are not artificially made and are natural. Why should we do it? For the most part, the artificial materials are non-degradable meaning that they can’t be decomposed and along with that making them produce a lot of chemicals are harmful to the environment.
The less we demand it the less they are produced and the less they have produced the less harm to the environment. You may think that there are not many options when it comes to natural and eco-friendly gifts but consider that all the clay statues, as well as rock statues, are “green” products that do not require much processing. Along with this try not to use too many wooden products as gifts for Deepawali if you want to help the environment.
7. Use Less Plastic
So ditching plastic and using other alternatives not only applies to Deepawali but as a whole. We all know the dangers of plastic in the environment and since they are non-degradable and burning them releases a lot of toxic gasses into the environment. This causes both air pollution and land pollution. The consumption of plastic becomes rather high during festivals and Deepawali is not an exception. If you are someone who is concerned with nature, it is a given that we should use less plastic.
Now while this is being said, one more danger of plastic especially during Deepawali is the abundance of fire which can cause accidental burns, and since most plastics burn fairly easily and for a long time, it also produces a safety hazard. This may seem like a bit of an exaggeration which admittedly it is for some part, the harm from plastic waste and burning to the environment is real.
8. Clean Up
For this, we are back to a more local scale rather than the global scale. After every festival, there are a ton of waste products and that is especially the case for Deepawali. Since it is a festival that is meant to feel and be decorative we have acknowledged that the waste materials produced in Deepawali are more when compared to other festivals. Flowers, Rangolis, waste from the lightings, and even firecrackers, they are all produced in Deepawali and all of them compile at the end of this festival.
This is fine and all but the issue is that all of these wastes are small in nature and easily blend with the ground which makes it hard to manage for waste collectors so they are often missed or not collected at all. So we have to manage these wastes and clean up ourselves. If we don’t do this then the ground is just going to be dirtier and sooner or later it will either start to smell or the ground is going to get sticky. This is without a doubt bad for the environment so we should clean up after Deepawali ourselves.
Carpooling basically means a group of people using a single mode of transport to commute. Since there are programs like Deusi and Bhailo which meant to be celebrated in groups and while moving from one locality to another if all the participants use private vehicles it is obvious that it will cause a lot of pollution since more vehicles produce more smoke and smoke is air pollution especially if it is emitted from vehicles which use fossil fuel and that is almost all of the vehicles present in this time frame.
Carpooling is good for this as for a while a group uses a single-vehicle. Along with this, the side benefit is that you will save money on fuel and the group members won’t go missing when it is time to return home. This is just a personal benefit that comes alongside saving the environment from pollution.
In the context of the recent events, it is advised to take precautions against the current pandemic while carpooling.
If you want to know more about Nepali cultures you can follow this up with our list of “10 Newari Culture That I Bet You Didn’t Know Before“