Eco-Friendly Ways To Set Up Durga Puja Pandals
The five-day long Durga Puja festivities will begin on October 15 this year. Marked by puja rituals and the immersion of idols of the goddess Durga, the occasion is celebrated as local committee set up pandals that brighten the town with their vibrant colours, lights, music, cultural performances and food stalls serving traditional delicacies.
However, from past one decade, the growing concern among environment-conscious citizens over the pollution of rivers and water bodies caused by idol immersion has led to the adoption of environment friendly ways to celebrate the festival. Here we list some eco-friendly ways that are being adopted to set up Durga Puja pandals.
Choice of idols
Baked clay, gypsum and Plaster of Paris (PoP) have been the predominant material used to carve the idols. However, in recent times, certain eco-friendly materials have taken over and toxic-based chemical paints have been replaced by water-soluble, organic natural dyes. Most of the pandals now use idols made of soluble clay and some even recylce waste material.
Many states such as Gujarat and West Bengal across the country have imposed restrictions on use of hazardous materials. Rather than decking up the pandals with piles of thermocol and plastic products, organisers are now using alternatives such as bamboo, wooden planks, coconut shell, cloth, jute or coir ropes, hay/straw, cane or paper.
For immersion of idols, in 2017, organisers at one of the popular Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park pandals opted to dig special pits made of bamboo frames which were later returned to craftsmen for reuse.
Control the clutter
The leftover materials such as flowers and other organic products collected from the puja are also being responsibly used. Some pandals use these products to produce compost for the garden or recycled for other purposes.
Use of paper plates, banana leaves, shell leaves or clay plates for serving the prasad and refreshments at the food stalls has also been witnessed.
Use of energy saving lighting
Many pandal organisers have been encouraging the use of energy saving light fixtures such as LED bulbs.
Ditch private vehicles
For pandal-hopping, many people have sought to use public transportation or opting for carpooling. This helps keep the unnecessary traffic congestion at bay and saves energy, too.