Mumbai: It is that time of the year when Kochi, also known as Queen of the Arabian Sea, is all decked up like a newly-wed bride for one of the grandest celebrations of the year. It is the Cochin Carnival that takes place in little town of Fort Kochi to celebrate the end of the year and welcome the new year with great fervour. The carnival, that takes place from December 25 to January 1, becomes a visual delight for the visitors as it is decorated in confetti and lit up all night. The organisers of the carnival have decided to give an eco-friendly spin to the festival by opting for decorations that do not harm the environment and marine species.
Talking to NDTV about the need to spread awareness on plastic pollution and opting for a sustainable way of celebrations, Binesh Thanyil, Programme Convener of the Fort Kochi New Year Celebrations Committee says,
The early history of Cochin Carnival can be dated back to the time when the Portuguese ruled the area in 1503 and so for the people of Kerala, the carnival is very close to their heart. Besides the local, people from all over India and the world visit the town around this time to be a part of the celebrations. Every year we organise programmes that cater to the social causes and this year we decided to include the environment bit aspect as well. If people’s favourite carnival is propagating eco-friendly festival than it is likely they will practice the same back home.
Taking a step towards environment, the organisers have completely ditched plastic and thermocol from its decorations and have instead arranged for eco-friendly alternatives. The committee has also prohibited the stall owners from keeping plastic bags and plastic bottles. The committee has arranged for steel glasses at public drinking water centres. Since it is not feasible to stop every visitor from carrying a plastic bottle or any other plastic item, all the plastic waste generated during the carnival will be segregated from the other wastes and sent to the recycling units.
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Every year the carnival witnesses an array of activities and competitions like floor art, tug og water, football, racing, swimming, bike racing and so on. Among all the numerous activities the rally procession that takes place for over a kilometer is the highlight of the event as lakhs of people dressed in bright colours march together in delight.
For the organisers decorating the street between KB Jacob road to Kamalakadavu, in the most beautiful way where people will march this year, is vital.
Hence, to grab maximum eyeballs, the committee has ditched plastic hangings and instead decorated the street with festoons made from vibrant-coloured cloth strips. Around 25,000 metres of clothes were purchased for the same.
Every year, the road is decorated with white plastic hangings and since the material is plastic the cost is very less. But this year, we have spent more to get the clothes. The expense is high but we don’t mind as we are spreading a message that will benefit the future generations, says Binesh.
Among the different types of street decorations, the committee also decided to not use plastic stars this year. Tonnes of discarded newspapers were recycled to make the stars. For all the competitions and activities, the committee is using cloth hoardings instead of the usual flex boards.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.