- Now festivals in Kerala to be celebrated under Green Protocol movement
- Usage of plastic and other non-degradable articles are prohibited
- As a part of green festivals, more reusable & washable utensils to be used
New Delhi: At a time when India’s major cities are battling with serious waste crisis, Kerala has decided to make all its major festivals eco-friendly. The upcoming Maramon Convention, which is considered to be the
largest Christian convention in Asia; Attukal Pongala festival in February that has figured in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the single largest gathering of women for a religious activity and the traditional Uroos festival in February at Beemapally in Kerala will be held as per the state’s ‘Green Protocol’ movement under which usage of plastic and other non-degradable articles including disposable glasses and plates and thermocol decorations are prohibited.
Highlighting the objective of this decision, Suchitwa Mission Director (Operations), C V Joy said,
Piles of non-degradable waste and food waste HAVE been a major concern during the festivals in the state and through this initiative we want to change this dark side of the festivals.
He further said,
“Our objective is to reduce piles of garbage by sensitising devotees and promoting green practices among them.”
Another senior official from Suchitwa Mission said that,
If everything goes as per plan, the Thrissur Pooram, known as the mother of all festivals in Kerala, will also go green.
Currently, according to the Suchitwa Mission officers, the state nodal agency for sanitation, the discussions with religious heads and peoples’ representatives to make the festivals eco-friendly are in the process. For now, as part of the initiative, awareness drives among devotees and representatives of religious institutions on the need TO avoid plastic items during festivities are being carried out.
Festivals Go Green In Kerala: Here’s How
To make festivals green, various steps are being taken by the authorities. Explaining the few such steps, an officer added,
First of all, we are discouraging the use of disposable items and plastics by promoting more and more of reusable and washable utensils. For this, we will soon open counters to collect the utensils from people at various points around the Attukal Devi Temple.
He further added,
We will also encourage people to donate such utensils to us which will later be used to serve food and water for devotees during the Pongala instead of relying on non-biodegradable items.
Even the Welfare organisations, who distribute free food during the festival day, have been asked to avoid the usage of plastic packets or boxes and instead distribute food in reusable utensils.
In order to keep a check on littering during festivals, special counters will be set up with the support of various non-governmental organisations that will distribute eco-friendly carry bags to all the devotees and encourage them not to litter in public.
Highlighting the “green” steps that will be taken during Uroos festival, which begins on February 17, Ameershah, programme officer, Suchitwa Mission, said,
During the Uroos fest, the mosque as well as voluntary organisations serve food to devotees. Besides this, several groups set up stalls and counters in the premises of the mosque offering eatables. Now, the stalls would be given permission to operate only if they give in writing that they would adhere to green protocols.
He further added,
Only washable and reusable utensils will be used to serve food there. Use of plastic will not be allowed. If
anyone violates this, the particular stall will be removed and penalty will be imposed.
The Green Protocol movement was started in Kerala in 2014 and gained popularity after its success during the 2015 National Games, hosted by the state. The state is well known for popularising the concept of ‘Green Weddings’, where the usage of plastic and other non-degradable is prohibited. Now, taking a step forward, the government has decided to make the festivals eco-friendly in the same manner.
Apart from this, even the hotels in the state have stopped the usage of plastic straws and the education board has passed a mandate for students that they will only use fountain pen and not plastic pens.
Another successful example comes from India’s first plastic-free district, Kannur where all hotels have adopted a scheme to reduce disposable plastic usage among people with initiatives like, ‘bring your own tiffin box for takeaways and get extra 10 percent discount on your food bill’.
Today, because of these Swachh initiatives, Kerala is known as one of India’s progressive states and has become a model state for others to emulate. Last year, on November 1, which is also Kerala’s foundation day, the state pledged to go 100% waste free as soon as possible.