INDIA. New Delhi: Holi is just a few days away but the resurgence of COVID-19 is playing a spoilsport. There also has been a constant demand to reduce the use of chemical-based colours for Holi as they are harmful to human skins and for the environment as well. People now look for options to play an environment-friendly Holi by using natural gulal.
Read Also: Colours Of The Festival Of Colours – Holi
How and where to get natural colours? That’s a big question.
Flowers are the liveliest and lovable gift of nature to humans. For quite some time now, efforts have been made to convert used floral offerings in a temple, a church, or a mosque, and also from various weddings, functions, etc. into reusable items.
The floral wastes along with household waste from vegetables etc. are a big concern for various environmental activists. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reports also have regularly been reporting deteriorating air and water qualities all over the country. Green waste disposed of in landfills also decomposes to create methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
Fortunately, various govt. agencies, NGOs, and environmental activists are now looking for solutions to tackle these environmental pollution issues and several techniques have been developed for recycling green waste and also other forms of wastes.
Sometime back, through efforts by CIVL (Clean India Venture) for reprocessing flower waste in the production of hawan samagri, samidha, and dhoop, machines, named the “Green Waste Reprocessor” (GWR) with a 500 kg per day capacity were installed at various locations in Delhi.
Production of environment friendly Gulal
The Su-Dhara project, initiated by the office of the principal scientific adviser to the government of India through NGO Vertiver, went a step ahead and have converted huge amounts of floral waste collected from various temples into environmentally friendly gulal. Till now they have produced and sold 200 kg of herbal gulal to organisers of kirtans and local Holi events.
Dr Shailja Gupta, project leader and senior adviser at the principal scientific adviser’s office told The Transcontinental Times, “People were reluctant to handle the waste earlier and as a matter of habit used to throw the green waste mixed with other wastes. With the help of the NGO Vertiver, we began by educating how to separate organic waste in order stop the waste from reaching the landfills.” Chhaya Bhanti, the founder of the NGO Vertiver, said this was possible by connecting with institutions and organising workshops to send the message across to a wider audience.
Through Su-Dhara, low-cost bio-digester drums were installed at local temples, Durga Mandir at Durgapuri Chowk, and Sain Mandir at Kabool Nagar in East Delhi to turn the flowers into compost in partnership with East Delhi Municipal Corporation. And as the season of Holi approached, the idea of turning floral waste into natural gulal was conceived by a few, and the eco-friendly gulal came into being.
The gulal made by using floral waste has no chemicals and does not harm human skins. It has no artificial fragrance, and they are packed in Kulhads of terracotta and even the decorative wrappings are colourful old cloths collected from temples.