You are either the Holi playing sort, or you aren't. If you're a Holi lover, you're probably waiting for it with a lot of enthusiasm, after all, what's not to love? For once the world is literally rose-coloured! But before you get ready for the battle of the colours and collect your arms, here's a list of a few things to keep in mind to make sure you do your bit for the environment even while you have the time of your life
Maybe not a waterless, but aim for a less water Holi
For many people Holi is incomplete without splashing buckets of coloured water on family and friends. But take a moment to think about the amount of precious water literally being poured down the drain. According to a September 2013 report in The Times Of India, 22 of India's 32 big cities are facing an acute water crisis-with upto a 70% gap between demand and supply; so do your bit to minimise wastage. Even if you can't enjoy Holi without water, at least use pichkaris instead of buckets. We must set a good example for our children, who, if reports are to be believed, will face an even bigger water shortage by the time they grow up. Lead by example.
Use natural as opposed to synthetic colors
There is a lot of awareness about the amount of chemical used in synthetic colours. However, while most people are aware of the personal health hazards of these colours, few know that they have harmful consequences on the environment as well, since these are not bio-degradable and, thus, affect the soil and ground water.
This Holi, go the natural way. If you have the time and are willing to make the effort, make the colours yourself. This could be a great time for parent-child bonding. Children love to create things and what could be more fun than creating colours? All you need are flowers, vegetables and some ground flour. The colours are all around you-beetroot, cranberries, turmeric, spinach, henna, marigold to name a few. So, get into the kitchen with your kids and whip up some colours. They will remember this for a long time to come.
Curtail the bonfires on Holika Dahan
As is the tradition, a day before Holi, people burn wood and other combustible elements to celebrate the killing of Holika, the demoness. While this is an old tradition, it's important to know that the toxic fumes from these fires contain harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, which cause lung and heart diseases, in addition to polluting the environment.
What you could do, if tradition must be followed, is to have a collective burning, instead of individual ones. Lead the initiative, contact your neighbours and organise a common bonfire. Apart from being environmentally friendly, this could be a great way to bond with your neighbours.
No balloons or plastic
Plastic has had devastating effects on the well-being of our planet. Take a journey anywhere in India and you'll find the countryside strewn with non-degradable plastic that has clogged our rivers and drains apart from releasing toxic chemicals into the soil and water. This Holi, discourage the use of water balloons, which, in any case, can be injurious to people. Give your kids pichkaris instead. Instill in them, from now on, the idea that the earth is theirs to protect and that we all have a part, no matter how small, in preserving it. Also, if you buy natural colurs from the market, make sure you take your own newspaper, which you can tear and use for putting the powder, instead of taking plastic bags.
Get some temporary, brightly coloured tattoos
Another way you can add colour this Holi is by getting some really cool, colour-intensive tattoos. Try the ones that look like a splash of colour on your arm or back. This is especially great for those who don't like to play with the powder colour. These stick-on tattoos are a fun way of participating, without having to wash off the hard stains later.