As celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi grow bigger and bigger every year, an increasing number of people are catching on to the devastating environmental pollution the festival leaves behind.
While decorating and immersing the Ganesha idol are inseparable from the auspicious holiday, the waste generated is rarely reused or made of eco-friendly materials.
This year, we can initiate change by using environmentally friendly decorations and items to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. Easy to make at home, these are not only a way to show your devotion, but also ensure you do so responsibly.
Paint a terracotta plate with natural colours to use as a serving dish for all the modaks, laddoos, and sheera you and your guests are about to devour.
You can also use them to place beautifully decorated terracotta diyas, like home decor stylist Pinky shows on her Instagram.
Discarded chocolate wrappers
“I used the gold wrapper of milk chocolate from my sister’s childhood collection to decorate the Ganesha,” said entrepreneur Saranya on Instagram.
You can also use old initiation cards, colour papers, and gift wrappers to decorate your home. This means you’ll make no new purchases for plastic for that year’s Ganesh Chaturthi — a truly responsible choice.
More leaves, flowers, and clothes
Swap your paper or plastic flowers for the real deal, easily available from your local nursery or home garden. Tie them together with a cotton thread and hang them around your home.
Serve your sweets and snacks on a banana leaf, or use it to place the idol. Also, you can repurpose your old sarees and colourful dupattas to decorate the corners of your home.
Take a look at how a member of Ganesh Vandana Group, an artist community creating clay idols, decorated their home on Ganesh Chaturthi:
Clay or leaf idols
While it’s easy to buy a plastic of PoP Ganesha idol from the market, go the extra mile and create one yourself using clay, newspaper, or even rice flour.
If you feel like you lack the artistic chops, find some leaves from a banyan tree or money plant to make a representational image of Lord Ganesha.
Check out how actor Sorabh Raaj created his Ganesha:
Natural thali rangoli
Instead of using store-bought artificial colours to make your rangolis, switch to homemade colours like turmeric.
Turmeric paste or powder can give a vibrant look to your design, and you can reuse it as a body scrub. And if you dispose of it, there’s no harm —the substance is entirely eco-friendly.
This is how digital creator and home decor specialist Amrita Deol makes her thali rangoli.
Edited by Divya Sethu