I could see several people standing on the traffic signal, holding placards of some kind. About 10-15 in number, in 2-3 groups across different junctions of the signal. But they seemed peaceful enough. No cops around. No crowd around. What was going on?
I thought this group was a part of just another protest of some kind. I ran through a list of embarrassing public events which were recently unfolded - large scams, protests, fast-unto-death rallies, etc, and then I also tried arriving at the cause that this group might be affiliated to. I got curious.
When I was idling at the signal, I read what the placards had displayed and carefully observed the attire of the people.
And then I became ecstatic.
What stood apart was their bright yellow jackets on white T-shirts and a prominent cap, with Cummins neatly embroidered. Which probably meant that Cummins was the sponsor.
The placards they held were not to support a cause of protest.
They were in fact spreading awareness to celebrate the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi in an eco-friendly manner. One of the placards asked people to refrain from submerging Ganesh Idols in rivers, ponds, etc. They implored people to submerge the idols in a tank specially created near such water bodies. Another placard requested people to stop throwing garlands and flowers (Nirmalya) in natural water reservoirs. This ensured that these water reservoirs did not get (further) polluted.
[Photo credit: http://www.bigpicture.in/festival-photos-from-india/]
I was thrilled. This brief encounter made me think deeper about the very need of such awareness campaigns. Upon googling the issue further, I came across some interesting articles here and here. And this one was particularly insightful.
Here are few things we can start doing from this Ganesh Festival (starting 19th Sept) to keep the environment clean:
1. Let's immerse Ganesh Idols in separate tanks and not in rivers, lakes, ponds, etc.
2. Let's pledge that we will keep Ganesh Festival free of noise pollution.
3. Let's use only the natural clay idols, and not Plaster of Paris ones.
4. Let's avoid use of non biodegradable material such as thermocole altogether.
5. Lets recycle flowers and garlands to make hand made paper or dried flower products.
Keep it up Cummins! I'm certain it will have a lasting impact. Gradually we will start seeing clearer water reservoirs through many such initiatives and campaigns.
Wishing you all a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi in advance! :) May Lord Ganesh bless you with lifelong happiness!
What are some other initiatives/ activities you can do to conserve the nature better? Do share in your comments below. Thanks.