Ganesh Puja stands as a cherished celebration in India, representing more than just religious devotion. Beyond the spiritual fervor, Ganesh Puja has become a symbol of sustainable festivities, emphasizing the need for eco-friendly practices. To steer away from the environmental impact of plastic in these celebrations, many States are now embracing sustainable solutions. In alignment with this eco-conscious approach, Assam has chosen to celebrate Ganesh Puja with pandals crafted from bamboo, showcasing a commitment to both tradition and environmental responsibility.
During the ongoing Swachhata Pakhwada, the Digboi Municipal Board, in collaboration with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, orchestrated a remarkable celebration of Plastic Free Ganesh Puja from the 19th to the 21st of September in 2023. This event, held at the enchanting location of Dacca Line, Towards IOC Road, captured the essence of Assamese culture while emphasizing swachhata.In their quest to avoid plastic from the festivities, the organizers opted fora sustainable and native resource, bamboo. At this event, bamboo took center stage in the crafting of idols, the construction of the entrance gate, and the elaborate traditional decorations, such as the iconic Japi headgear and Khorahi baskets. This ingenious use of bamboo not only showcased the versatility of this material but also embodied the spirit of sustainability.
Around 200 people came to the event every day, culminating in a collective participation of 600 individuals over the three-day extravaganza. The main goal of the event was to create a celebration that made people feel good spiritually and also encouraged them to adopt swachhata.
One of the most striking changes was the replacement of plastic garlands with traditional Assamese cloth, known as ‘Gamocha.’ These vibrant cloth adornments not only added a touch of authenticity but also symbolized a shift towards sustainable clothing. The pandal coverings, too, were transformed with cloth, and natural flowers replaced their plastic counterparts, infusing the venue with an enchanting aroma.
To reinforce the commitment to cleanliness and waste management, segregated dustbins were thoughtfully placed throughout the mandap campus. These bins facilitated the proper disposal of waste and emphasized the importance of responsible waste management. Perhaps one of the most impactful changes was the outright prohibition of single-use plastic by all participants and the event’s organizing committee. This bold step underscored the collective determination to create a truly plastic-free celebration.