Bengaluru: “Diwali”, the festival of lights, illuminates the darkness of the New Year’s moon, and strengthens our close friendships and knowledge, with a self-realization. Diwali is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Amavasya – the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin, (October/November) every year. It symbolizes that age-old culture of India which teaches to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. Diwali, the festival of lights even to-day in this modern world projects the rich and glorious past of India.
Every year on the dark nights of Diwali the sound of firecrackers announces the celebration of the favourite festival of Indians. Homes are decorated, sweets are distributed by everyone and thousands of lamps are lit to create a world of fantasy. Of all the festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important. Enthusiastically enjoyed by people of every religion, its magical and radiant touch creates an atmosphere of joy and festivity.
In Karnataka The celebration of Diwali is marked by the lighting of innumerable lamps in every courtyard and the bursting of crackers. Sweet meals, new clothes and spirit is there as in other festivals. The time for rejoicing is mainly early morning and late night. These hours of darkness bordering the waking hours are preferred as lights and crackers are the highlights of the festivities and these need darkness to have their illuminating effect. Hence people rise early and go late to sleep.
Celebrate an Environmentally Safe Diwali :
Did you know that diyas lit on the moonless Diwali night signifies the end of darkness of ignorance and the beginning of light that enlightens all? Well, this Diwali enlighten yourself towards the hazards that boisterous celebrations of Diwali poses to our environment.
Let us now reflect on celebrating an environmentally safe Diwali by pointing out the major impacts that Diwali has on our environment. We wish to encourage you to celebrate a green Diwali, where there will be an explosion of joy without crackers!
Then the question is: How to celebrate an Eco Sensitive Diwali?
As it is we are aware of the effects the traditional Deepavali celebrations on the Mother Nature. There are three major environmental impacts that this Festival has on our environment: Air Pollution through Firecrackers; Excessive Consumerism and High Energy Consumption.
1. Air Pollution through Firecrackers :
“Say ‘No’ to Fire crackers and ‘Yes’ to life!” For most people lighting of firecrackers is the highlight of Diwali. Brighter the sparkles, louder the noise the greater the thrill!! In fact to many of us, these aesthetic forms of light seem so appropriate and most essential when celebrating the ‘Festival of Lights’.
But little do people realize that in our increasingly populated and polluted cities, the temporary joy of watching the firecrackers is soon replaced by the intense air pollution caused by these. The toxic substances used in the firecrackers release toxic gases that are harmful to the health of all living beings. The high level of noise generated by the crackers cause immense suffering to birds and animals. Besides, Diwali crackers are dreaded by the sick and the ailing.
Sadly, few of us realise that the firecrackers used on Diwali are mostly made by very young children. Since the substances being handled are extremely toxic many of these child labourers get sick and die in their early teenage years.
Noise Pollution caused by Fire Crackers: Crackers that make a noise of more than 125 decibels at four metres distance from the point of bursting are banned by the law. Given here are the hazards posed by excessive noise pollution caused by crackers. Hearing loss, high blood pressure, heart attack and sleeping disturbances.
Sudden exposure to loud noise could cause temporary deafness or permanent relative deafness.
2. Excessive Consumerism
An indirect but equally significant impact of Diwali on nature is due to the increased consumption. Since Diwali is also a celebration of abundance and wealth – many people believe that it is a good time to buy. Often, people go out and buy new items even when they don’t need them. Advertisements and hoardings scream out to people offerings sales extravaganzas, bargains, discounts encouraging us to buy more and more!
How does this increased consumption affect Nature?
A point to realize is that all man made items are made out of materials that come from Nature. Be it plastic, metal, paper or cloth – all of these raw materials come directly from nature. Those sources that are non renewable (cannot be grown back) such as fossil fuels and metal ores get depleted and will one day run out. Depletion of non renewable natural resources is one of the most significant impact of consumerism.
For instance, the gold earrings that you will buy on Diwali is coming from a gold mine that is not only depleting the gold resources of the earth, but in the process of mining is probably ruining several ecosystems.
A question to ponder at this stage is, where do all the things we throw away go finally? Solid waste created by human beings which is non biodegradable (does not easily decompose) has to be filled into holes dug up in the ground. These ‘landfills’ as they are called may exist for centuries without completely getting integrated into the soil. The plastic toys that you are throwing away today, may exist in a landfill several generations after yours!
Five Principles of Nature conservation
To be able to conserve our natural environment it is important to keep in the following principles –
Reduce : the amount of things we use
Reuse : the things we have in different forms until we have absolutely no use for them
Recycle : items that are no longer functional.
Rethink: the choices we make when deciding to buy something and
Refuse : things that we do not need at all.
So this Diwali, before you buy something new apply the above five principles and only then pay at the counter!
3. High Energy Consumption
The festival of lights puts a considerably heavy load on electrical energy sources that are already overloaded. The use of electric lights to adorn homes, business establishments, monuments and roads requires a huge amount of electricity. The older tradition of burning oil lamps is a possible alternative to electric lights – even though it does use oil, the duration of the lamps is shorter.
Eco sensitive Initiatives around Diwali
With the growing recognition of the impacts of Diwali on the environment, several groups have started to reinterpret the rituals and traditions to become more sensitive to nature. For instance, the children of NCL school, Pune celebrate a different Diwali by sharing clothes with the lesser privileged.
Our beloved President Pranab Mukherjee added, “May this year`s celebration strengthen the bonds of goodwill and brotherhood between us and further promote mutual understanding.” He also called for efforts to celebrate Diwali “in an eco-friendly and pollution-free manner”.
“Let us, on this day, dedicate ourselves to spreading the message of compassion, love, brotherhood and peace. May this Diwali be an occasion to bring the light of happiness and joy into the lives of the needy,” he said.
Diwali is about bonding, of ritual,
of a belief that that good will always triumph over evil
for dark night must always make way for morning light.
Wishing you a happy Diwali.
May thousands of lamps light up your life
with endless happiness, richness, health & wealth forever
wishing you and your family a very
I want to wish a Happy Diwali to all those who are celebrating the festival of lights here in the United States and around the world. For Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, lighting the lamp—the diya—is a chance to remember, even in the midst of darkness, that light will ultimately prevail. Knowledge will defeat ignorance, and compassion will triumph over despair.
Diwali is also a reminder that we must each do our part to achieve that victory, by dedicating ourselves to service to others. If we affirm our commitments to one another and strive to lift each other up, then together, we will continue moving closer to that brighter future we all seek.