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Celebrating a Green and Inclusive Chhath in Chandigarh

The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh took centre stage in organizing a remarkable Zero Waste event for Chhath Puja. The incorporation of self-help groups played a pivotal role, ensuring all necessary materials were sourced sustainably. Ms. Anindita Mitra, the Commissioner of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, emphasized the dual focus on zero waste and recycling, showcasing a commitment to environmental responsibility.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Chhath, the four-day festival synonymous with devotion and rituals, took a unique turn this year in Chandigarh. Commencing with the sacred ‘nahay khay’, a ritual river bath, on November 17, the festival concluded with the ‘arghaya’, a prayer and dedication ceremony, on November 20. What made this year’s celebration stand out is the thoughtful and sustainable approach adopted by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to make it a ‘zero waste event’.

Indian Masterminds exclusively spoke with Ms. Anindita Mitra, the Commissioner of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, to know more about the event.

A ZERO WASTE EXTRAVAGANZA

The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh orchestrated a remarkable Zero Waste event for Chhath Puja this year. The focal point of the festivities was a meticulously developed sarovar (water body) situated in Indra Colony, Manimajra.

This purpose-built venue provided not only a picturesque setting for the ritual but also contributed to the eco-friendly ethos of the event. The self-help groups associated with the Municipal Corporation played a pivotal role in providing all the necessary materials, consolidating the celebration onto a single, cohesive platform.

“We focused on two aspects – zero waste, and recycling and processing. Instead of banners and hoardings, we used digital screens everywhere. All the decorations were done with flowers from our own gardens, thus avoiding wastage,” shared the officer.

INVOLVING SHGs

Following the conclusion of the festivities, the decorative flowers used during the event were repurposed by the Self Help Groups of the city who were trained in making agarbattis out of them under Project Arpan’, reinforcing the commitment to sustainability beyond the celebration itself.

“We did not use plastic in any way and instead made use of paper and glass everywhere so that no plastic waste is generated. The only waste that was generated was the floral waste which was then recycled into agarbattis,” Ms. Mitra told Indian Masterminds.

COMPREHENSIVE PLATFORM FOR RITUALISTIC PURITY

To elevate the Chhath Puja experience, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation went above and beyond in creating a comprehensive platform at the green belt in Indra Colony. The development included not only the serene water body but also an aesthetically pleasing landscape.

Recognizing the need for changing facilities, the Corporation set up green rooms. Stalls were strategically organized, offering all the essential items required for the puja ceremony, meticulously prepared by women self-help groups.

INTRODUCING VISAR-VAHAN

The municipal corporation launched Visar-Vahan which was utilised purposefully to collect all the broken idols left under trees, chunris tied to trees, broken God frames kept under trees, and strings tied to them, from all over the city. The officer and her team identified 148 trees where such things were left behind by the citizens and collected all the waste from there.

“The POP idols were immersed in a specially constructed water tank, the chunris were given to the self help groups who converted them into God’s clothes, curtains, and other materials, and the broken frames were converted into trays which could be utilised in poojas,” she shared.

Once the chhath pooja was over, the officer also sent visar-vahans to collect leftover diyas and fruits from various regions. The fruits and the big leaves used in pooja were utilized for composting and in horticulture waste management.

Even the coconuts used in the pooja were collected and sent to coconut shredding units where it was converted to ropes which is then sold in the market. “We tried to form a circular economy through this,” added the officer.

ZERO WASTE FOOD STALLS

In an effort to cater to the diverse needs of the public participating in the puja, zero waste food stalls were established. These stalls featured a variety of culinary delights from registered vendors of the Municipal Corporation, ensuring not only a delightful experience for the taste buds but also a commitment to sustainable practices.

“Permanent compost pits were prepared on the spot and all the food waste was dumped in these pits to avoid any wastage and ensure cleanliness,” stated the officer.

A VISIONARY APPROACH 

Emphasizing the inclusivity of the initiative, Ms. Mitra highlighted the Corporation’s dedication to ensuring a serene environment, availability of all necessary materials, and enjoyable cultural programmes for all participants.

Her move reflects not only a commitment to maintaining cleanliness during and after the event but also an ongoing dedication to sustainable practices.

She further emphasized that this unique celebration of Chhath Puja showcases the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation’s commitment to creating inclusive and delightful experiences for its citizens. Beyond providing a serene environment for the puja, the initiative highlights the importance of sustainability and cleanliness in community celebrations.

This celebration, rooted in tradition and harmonized with contemporary sustainability practices, exemplifies the progressive and thoughtful approach of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation in ensuring that festivals are not just celebrated but celebrated responsibly.


Indian Masterminds Stories

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