Can we really afford to waste gallons and gallons of potable water? As the country prepares to celebrate Holi, noted environmental activists across the city have raised this pertinent point, yet again. Their appeal: Do have fun, but not at the cost of environment.
The way things are now, Holi has come to mean uncontrolled waste of water, cutting and burning of trees, animal abuse and a host of health problems. Vikrant Sharma, better known as Vikrant Hindon for his efforts to save River Hindon, explains, “Modern-day Holi presents two environmental challenges — unregulated waste of water and cutting down of green trees to burn the Holi pyre, popularly called Holika Dahan.”
Ha adds, “The water used for Holi is precious drinkable water — either groundwater or from civic supply. The only way out is playing a dry Holi, and collective Holika Dahans. Less trees cut translates into less pollution.”
City Spidey spoke to several environmentalists on the matter. Most denounced modern ideas of Holi celebrations, such as rain dance — which involves a huge waste of clean water.
Ghaziabad’s green activist, Vijaypal Baghel, popularly called Greenman Baghel, feels Holi must be celebrated in more traditional and eco-friendly ways. He is also concerned about the animal abuse that happens during this time. “Ignorant people throw colours on animals — stray dogs, cows. The hapless animals try to get the colour off by licking themselves — and, in the process, they consume harmful chemicals.”
For 2017, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation aims to provide at least 50 per cent of rural households with piped water supply. Currently, only 35 per cent of rural households with a household connection have piped water supply.
According data provided in census 2011, only 20 per cent of rural Uttar Pradesh households have access to piped water supply, while the figure is 51.50 per cent for urban households.
Baghel opines, “A drop wasted increases thirst by exactly a drop. People must become environmentally conscious. Whether playing Holi, or celebrating Diwali, or simply washing clothes — they must act as aware citizens.”