Holi is a popular Hindu traditional festival, celebrated across India in the month of March. Known as the festival of colors around the world, Holi involves smearing each other with dry colors and splashing colored water. In ancient India, Holi was played with haldi, kumkum and sandalwood powder, which are known for various medical benefits.
However, commercialization of this festival has changed this healthy trend. At the present time, Holi is played with chemical dyes harmful for skin and other body parts. Excessive amount of chemical dyes not just harms players but also impacts the surrounding environment causing severe damage and pollution. To help in reducing the impact of chemical colors, this article discusses their effects on our environment and offers tips for playing eco-friendly Holi this year.
Since there is no strict control over the quality of chemical dyes used to play Holi, most of these contain toxic elements like heavy metal pigments. Moreover, they are made of structured polymers that do not get decomposed easily. When chemical colors get mixed with water they pollute water resources like rivers, ponds and seas. A layer of such colors can prevent plant leaves from using sunlight for photosynthesis, killing them in the process.
Leaching of the toxic colors from the soil to the ground water spreads more pollution, affecting humans as well as other eco-systems around us. On top of that, the Holika bonfire conducted on the eve before the day of Holi celebration is believed to be a reason of deforestation. Every year more than 300,000 bonfires are held on the name of Holika, each burning 100 kg of wood. Clearly, huge numbers of trees are cut before Holi to supply wood for the bonfires. The adverse effects of unregulated celebration of Holi have a long lasting impact on our environment that cannot be reversed.
The Dangers of Using Chemical Colors
Hundreds of people visit dermatologists, eye-specialists and doctors in general after the Holi celebrations. Use of chemical colors causes different types of skin and eye problems. To make profit and reduce production costs, unscrupulous manufacturers mix cheap chemicals with the colors. A huge percentage of colors openly sold in the market are a mixture of heavy metals and engine oil that can cause infection, allergies and burn on entering human body.
The green colors contain contains copper sulphate, responsible for eye allergies and even blindness and the black color is made with lead oxide that leads towards renal failure. To make shiny colors like silver or golden, powdered glass is used. Avoiding these chemical infused colors can safeguard you from several potential physical damages.
Tips for Playing Eco-Friendly Holi
Using natural colors for playing Holi and encouraging others to do the same will considerably decrease the detrimental impact of this celebration on our environment. Also, playing with natural colors minimizes the threat of physical damage and health problems caused by chemical dyes. The natural colors are prepared using plant parts and natural oils. They may cost a little extra but do not cause skin eruptions or burning in the eyes.
You can purchase natural colors by reputed manufacturers made of flower extracts, turmeric powder, mehndi, sandalwood powder, pomegranate extract and beetroot extract. Though the natural colors do not offer the dark pigmentation of chemical colors and can be washed of easily. Even if the natural colors sans harmful chemicals get mixed with water or spread in our environment they will not spread environmental pollution.
Playing Holi with harsh chemical colors is dangerous for your skin and eyes. They can even affect internal organs and increase breathing troubles. Moreover, they adversely impact environment, ruining the pH balance of drinkable water, killing plants and spurring air pollution. To avoid the damages chemical colors are responsible for, you should celebrate Holi only with natural colors. Using dry colors will help in controlling water wastage. Obeying some simple measures and precautions can make your Holi celebrations happier and safer.