Another year, another grand celebration of Holi. While the festival is one that evokes happiness, we all know the harsh truth behind those bright colors. We also know how harmful that they can cause skin irritation, and eye irritation among other problems.
If you do opt for the safer and better option here are some fun ways you could celebrate an eco friendly holi:
- Make your own colours: Home-made is the way to go! Making colours at home is fun for the whole family, good for the environment and your skin as well. www.Holifestival.org has some wonderful tips for making your own colours. For yellow, you can mix turmeric (haldi) powder with chick pea flour. For the liquid yellow, soak peels of pomegranate (Anar) overnight. For deep pink simply slice a beetroot and soak it in water, and finally for orange/red paste use dry henna leaves (or mehndi) can be dried, powdered and mixed with water. See http://www.holifestival.org/holi-natural-colors.html for more details.
- Buy organic colours: Organic colours have started to come of age in India, with many big retailers stocking them in stores. They are a vastly better alternative to the chemical paints and powders that are mostly commonly in use. Comet Media Foundation in Mumbai had stocks of organic colours that you can buy and use for your Holi fix. You can contact Co-exist, The Bombay Store or other retailers that have these colours to see if you can pick them up in your city. Do consider recommending organic colours to your friends, building society and other groups to spread the word about this option.
- Protect animals: Unfortunately Holi tends to bring out the rowdy side in some people. Those who have seen dogs and other animals dyed in pink, blue or other dyes the day after Holi would realise the plight they are in. The colours can also harm their skin if very toxic. If you see children or adults forcibly putting colours on animals, step up and stop them.
- Try a dry Holi!: Another way to celebrate would be a completely dry holi. With the scarcity of water around the country, thinking about the gallons of water being used and the huge part of our population that goes weeks without any water, it could be a more thoughtful option to celebrate a dry Holi this year.
- Save every drop: Ok, you love Holi too much and can’t imagine it without water balloons, pichkaris and more. You can still try and save as much water as you can by ensuring that running taps that are not in use are kept closed. Abid Surti at the Drop Dead Foundation has saved over 414,000 litres of water by fixing dripping taps! He realized that a dripping tap could waste up to 1 litre of water an hour. You too can definitely stop the wastage of water during Holi by checking that your own and community’s taps are closed when not being used.
Whatever you do decide we at Help Your NGO wish you a happy and safe Holi!