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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Green takes lead in riot of colours

MPCB Sends 1Cr Text Messages, Urging Mumbaikars To Celebrate Eco-Friendly Holi

Don't forget "green" as you paint the town with vibrant hues on Holi. This is the message that the pollution board is trying to get across, urging residents not to celebrate with chemical colours. 

    As part of its campaign for an ecofriendly carnival, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has sent over 1 crore text messages to Mumbaikars, appealing them to use natural colours and less water. "Our campaign through cellphones, TV, radio as well as the screens on buses and trains seems to have clicked," said Sanjay Bhuskute, spokesperson for MPCB. Citing "huge response" this time, he added that they had been receiving calls from citizens, asking them about shops from where they could buy eco-friendly colours. Environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh said at the MPCB stall in Mantralaya, the natural colours flew off the shelves so fast that many had to be turned away because of shortage. 
    Residents of Panchaganga Cooperative Housing Society at Pratiksha 
Nagar in Sion have together bought natural gulal and colours, made by the inmates of Yerawada Jail in Pune, by spending Rs 3,000. The residents have unanimously decided to stay away from synthetic colours. 
    "Holi will be much safer in absence of chemically-mixed colours," said Parbat Patel, whose stays in the housing society. 

    Even the cultural association of Pride Park Cooperative Housing Society on Ghodbunder Road in Thane is bearing the expenses of natural colour that will be distributed among the 400 families there, to encourage them in giving up artificial colours. "We have instructed all residents not to use synthetic colour. We have also told children not to play with water balloons, to avoid plastic waste. This initiative, we hope, will make organic 
colours a trend," said Narendra Toke, a resident of Pride Park. 
    It's not only these two housing societies that are going green this Holi. Several housing societies as well as individuals in Mumbai have been promoting the use of natural colours. 
    "Information from distributors and the record of our promotional selling suggest that over 22 housing societies have bought eco-friendly colours. They have also urged for restricted use of water to avoid shortage in summer," said MPCB's Bhuskute. He added that the demand had shot up five times this year than that last time. "In 2011, 2,000 kg natural colour was sold in Mumbai, while till today, the figure record is 11,000 kg this time. The supply is falling short. In 2010, only 500 kg sold," Bhuskute added. 
    Some residents are also taking the pain of making gulals themselves. Aashit Mulgaonkar, a resident of Goregaon, is one such enthusiast who has bought turmuric powder, vegetables like beetroot and spinach to prepare the colours. "I will crush marigold and palash flowers to add fragrance to the colours," he said.

SHADES OF JOY: Children of Kamla Mehta Dadar School For the Blind start celebrations two days before the festival


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