The festival of lights is right around the corner. It is that time of the year when houses are painted and decorated with lights and lamps, new clothes are bought, feasts of delicious savories are organized, and the most identifiable of them all - crackers are burst. Every year, during this festival, an immeasurable quantity of fireworks are burnt across the country and an unavoidable consequence of that becomes the subsequent air pollution. Sometimes, a number of pollutants and particulate matter in the air goes up by as high as 40 times the WHO recommended level. And we already know that our cities aren’t really in a great shape when it comes to the environment and pollution statistics.
Well, we don’t mean to be the naysayers when it comes such an iconic celebration. In fact, we are going to do something quite opposite to that. We have gathered some tech ideas below that you can use in your Diwali celebration to reduce (or even completely eliminate) the adverse effect you have on the environment around you.
Idea 1: Do it like IIT Kharagpur
For decades, IIT Kharagpur has been celebrating Diwali a bit differently. They hold true to the tradition of lamps and rangoli by organizing an inter-hostel competition among its multiple hostels. This competition has two parts - Illumination and Rangoli. Illumination is a one-of-a-kind competition where students from each hostel, or as they call it, hall of residence create extravagant patterns using lamps (diyas) against a huge wooden structure, known as chatai. What makes this so special? Well, over 20,000 diyas are used by each hall, and the structures are nearly 20 feet high and with areas close to 1500sq.ft. Needless to say, the entire illumination lasts only for a few minutes and is a sight to behold.
Idea 2: Use the long weekend for a vacation
Before you scream at us for asking you to skip Diwali altogether, let us say that we are absolutely not doing that. This is not the typical vacation that we are suggesting. Every year, you may be celebrating Diwali in your own city or town, amid tens and even hundreds of known faces, bursting crackers and enjoying the festivities. This year, why don’t you pack your bags and head out of the city or town that you’re in and experience the Diwali somewhere else? Just fire up the Ola app to book an outstation cab, or if you’re looking to drive there yourself, you can even rent a car quite easily from Zoomcar or JustRide. Maybe a tourist destination near you? Or a rural area where they still do it the traditional way? Or maybe skip people altogether and go for a scenic Diwali trek? The list is endless!
Idea 3: Use and gift LED lights
Incandescent lights have long been declared as power inefficient and unreliable, yet the one place we continue to use them unabashedly is for Diwali lighting. A normal LED bulb cuts down energy consumption by about 90% which is definitely a big step towards an eco-friendly Diwali. Although the prices of LED bulbs and lighting used to be a big deterrent in the recent past, that is not the case now and their prices have come down quite a lot.
LED lights also do look beautiful when used decoratively
Idea 4: VR Diwali
With Virtual Reality, you can enjoy almost everything from the comfort of your living room (or whichever room you prefer). And that includes the Diwali fireworks too. VR headsets are probably going to be one of the most gifted items this year during the festival, and if you get one, put that to good use or get your own. There are a lot of good VR fireworks experiences out there that you can enjoy. For example, this video on Vrideo shows fireworks exploding all around a drone and is an amazing experience to watch. Or this Google Cardboard ready VR video showing fireworks. Trust me, the experience won’t disappoint.
Idea 5: If you’re in Hyderabad, order from this website
One of the large groups that are influenced by firecrackers during Diwali are obviously the people who sell them. One such store in Hyderabad, India, decided that just selling the fireworks, that ultimately led to all kinds of pollution, was just not right. Hi-Tech Crackers decided to do something unique about their business. For every order that you place on their online store, they plant a tree. This goes a long way in setting an example, and if this practice is adopted by most firecracker shops then who knows, we might even solve the pollution problem in Diwali entirely.
Idea 6: Use social apps to organise eco-friendly Diwali and community celebrations
While you might have your own eco-friendly Diwali all sorted out, to make a significant difference there needs to participation towards this idea by a larger group of people. Trust me, there would be quite a few people around you who would want to go the eco-friendly way when it comes to Diwali. But how do you find them? Use the power of social media we say! While the obvious Facebook and WhatsApp groups of your area/building/office are a great place to get started, if you want to get things more organised, go for apps like Meetup that let you organise gatherings of people with a similar objective. What’s more, you can maintain this group and organise more eco-friendly initiatives in the future.
Idea 7: Gift a fitness band
And after all those tips about the environment, there’s only one thing left to address - the health of people around you. While you might be conscious about what you are consuming during the festivities, it is natural to lose track and relax your eating habits during such times. And even if that is not the case, the degree of pollution that one is exposed to makes it a great time to start caring for and improving one’s own health. A great way to encourage that is to gift someone a fitness band that keeps track of their day to day activities, helping them better organise their health regime. A good choice would be the GOQii 2.0 band that, along with being a step counter, comes with its own ecosystem of a dedicated fitness coach and a doctor, ensuring that you get back right on track from wherever you are.
And after everything, remember, that festivities are meant to celebrate the world that we have around us, not pollute and destroy it. We are already doing that quite effectively with other human ventures, so why not make this Diwali a bit different and actually improve the world that we celebrate so fervently? If you have any more such ideas, do share them in the comments section below.
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