Holi is intended to commemorate the sheer happiness and joy of good triumphing over evil. However, it also poses many environmental hazards. India already has a number of environmental issues. One of them being air pollution which poses a major threat to health. Eleven of the top twelve most polluted cities in the world are located in India, according to the World Health Organization.
Due to its rapidly declining water level, India is likewise experiencing a serious dilemma. The nation has been battling a rapid groundwater and freshwater depletion brought on by climate change and over-extraction. The food supply has been impacted by these water shortages, producing inflation and igniting societal discontent.
It was discovered that the colourant used in dry colours, also known as gulals, was poisonous, with heavy metals causing asthma, skin conditions, and temporary blindness. It is thought that the customary “Holika Dahan” burning causes deforestation and air pollution.
According to custom, a bonfire is lit in honour of Holika Dahan, which encourages deforestation. Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter levels rise during the Holi festival, resulting in poor air quality. Additionally, on this auspicious day, people let off fireworks, releasing poisonous gases and other dangerous compounds into the atmosphere that can be detected by air quality monitoring.
Bursting firecrackers creates noise pollution in addition to releasing toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. In this festival, people enjoy wearing colourful clothing and dancing loudly while playing loud musical instruments that contribute to noise pollution. Both young children and the elderly may be at risk from this form of noise pollution.
Effects of harmful Chemicals
When Holi was first celebrated, organic colours created from flowers were used. But because the Holi festival (and deforestation) has become so commercialised, many businesses have begun producing highly toxic, chemically prepared colours (Dyes). They are not easily degradable in the environment and cannot be eliminated using traditional wastewater treatment techniques.
One of the main consequences of the Holi event is thought to be water pollution. India currently has a water deficit in every city. In light of this, it seems problematic that people throw water buckets and water balloons at one another. Balloons and plastic bags can both obstruct the city’s drainage system.
Some of the commonly encountered issues include skin rash,harm to the scalp and dry hair, irritation of the eyes, dehydration, overall weakness and exhaustion and artificial holi colours’ ingredients are to blame for them. However,there are many ways to keep yourself safe from the negative effects of Holi.
Purchase and use only natural, organic, or environmentally friendly dyes, buy colours from a reputable retailer who sells them in packets that clearly state their contents and other quality criteria. Before buying, smell the colour combinations. Don’t buy it if it smells like gasoline, diesel, or any other known chemical. Rub the colour on your hands or submerge it in water to determine its thickness.
Chemical and metal-based colours are very insoluble in water. One of the most popular colours nowadays is red (Gulal), which is also the only colour that is available without any others. Use only this colour consistently.
By: Lisa Mary Paul
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