Festivals in India, across religious lines, often elicit joy and a real sense of community, but they also generate a humongous amount of waste.
In a bid to tackle these concerns, the Kerala government has undertaken a Green Protocol policy during major religious festivals, irrespective of which religion or community is celebrating them.
The Suchitwa Mission, the state nodal agency for sanitation, working under the local self-government department, has got in touch with a whole host of religious leaders in the regard.
According to its website, the Suchitwa Mission is responsible for evolving implementation strategies and policies in the sectors of sanitation and various solid and liquid waste management. Cities, municipalities, and panchayats approach the Suchitwa Mission for technical inputs pertaining to sanitation and waste management initiatives.
This mission has already implemented its Green Protocol during Attukal Pongala; a unique Hindu festival celebrated in the Attukal Bhagavathy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. For celebrations this year, authorities have requested devotees to bring cloth bags with them. Additionally, religious organizations doling out free food have been urged not to use disposable plastic glasses and plates.
Two or three months before the festivities commence for a particular religious event, the mission holds consultations with elected representatives, city mayors, religious and other community leaders. Preparations begin in earnest with the issuance of strict guidelines.
Reports indicate that the Suchitwa Mission began implementing its green protocol at the National Games in 2015.
“Efforts are in full swing to implement the same during various religious festivals like Attukal Pongala, Thrissur Pooram, Maramon Convention, and other religious festivals. The mission will soon open counters at various points around the Attukal Devi Temple to collect reusable and washable utensils,” said an official from the mission.