Ganesh Chaturthi is a time of great celebration, affection & enthusiasm in Mumbai. We spend these 10 days visiting our friends and family, as well as paying our respect to the large Ganpati idols installed in various parts of the city. Unfortunately, the environmental effects of this festival, surrounding the final immersion in particular, have worsened over the years. Here are a few ways you can celebrate responsibly: 

Buy eco-friendly Ganeshas 

Plenty of idols available in today's marketplace are made of environmentally harmful materials such as plaster of Paris, cement or plastic, which aren't biodegradable. Moreover, the paints used to decorate the idols contain toxic chemicals that pollute our water bodies as the idols are immersed. Needless to say, this creates an adverse living environment for our marine life. 

This year, opt for an eco-friendly Ganesha that can easily and quickly dissolve in water. We believe it's especially worthwhile to set this example if you have young children at home, as it's important for our future generations to take responsibility when it comes to propelling our traditions forward.

With Stitch, you can opt for our Ganpati festive edit, which comes with our beautiful zari runner, ikat print tray, organic agarbattis & kum kum, fresh flowers, clay diyas and a mini eco-friendly Ganesh idol that you can even immerse in a water body at home. You can get any of our experiences in addition to this decor, making your Ganpati hosting duties a lot easier while offering your guests a unique and beautiful experience. 

For more options, explore this plantable Ganesha that gives back to the environment, these soil-based Ganeshas or these clay & paper mache idols

Plan a beach clean-up 

In the days following Ganesh Visarjan, our beaches are dotted with trash of all kinds. Sign up for the Stitch beach clean-up with your friends, family or colleagues as we tackle Chowpatty beach on September 13, 2019 (email us at hello@stitchexperiences.in to register). Following the clean-up, we will gather around for a picnic on Marine Drive so do help spread the word and join the movement! 

Photo credit: Rediff.com

To make these clean-ups a regular part of your routine, sign up with Beach Warriors as they seek weekly volunteers to help maintain the cleanliness of our beaches. 

Don't offer single serve water bottles at your puja

When your friends and family come over for a puja and snacks, plan for a designated water station equipped with jugs of water and clean glasses. Single serve plastic bottles are terrible for the environment, as they either end up in landfill or in the sea, and they're also entirely avoidable for events within the comfort of your home. If you feel comfortable doing so, request the hosts of other events you attend to do the same as this effort is most effective at a community level. 

Donate excess food to those in need

In the event that you have leftover food from your get-together, get in touch with the folks at Robin Hood Army to help the less privileged be a part of the festivities, too. 

Photo credit: @rha_india

Through the course of this festival, and all the festivals that are yet to come, be encouraged by the power of your actions. The more we advocate for responsibility and sustainability, the more people will get used to the dialogue and steps involved, especially younger generations and those less educated than us. If you have any further tips to share, do please write to us at hello@stitchexperiences.in.

We look forward to meeting you at the beach clean-up!