Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Painting A Sustainable Holi: Celebration Of Colors While Conserving The Planet

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi North chapter.

Holi, popularly referred to as the Festival of Colours, is celebrated across India and symbolises the triumph of good over evil and the arrival of spring. This vibrant festival is characterised by its kaleidoscope of colours, as people of all ages come together to playfully douse each other with brightly coloured powders and water. Beyond its visual spectacle, Holi holds deep cultural significance, fostering a sense of unity, joy, and renewal. It serves as a time for reflection, forgiveness, and new beginnings, transcending religious and cultural boundaries to unite people in celebrating joy, hope, and togetherness.

As a college student, going home for Holi is tough since we don’t get frequent breaks, and I miss playing with colors a lot! Holi has always been a significant event for my friends and family – from wishing everyone a ‘Happy Holi’ to playfully throwing colors at each other, it’s all about laughter and giggles. Being away from home during this time makes me nostalgic for those joyful moments we shared.

One particularly vivid memory stands out for me. It revolves around the playful chaos of the festival. I remember how my friends and I would eagerly anticipate this day, armed with packets of colored powder and water balloons, ready to turn each other into living rainbows. The air would be thick with laughter and camaraderie as we chased each other around, oblivious to the passage of time.

However, amidst the joyous revelry, there’s a sobering reality that often goes unnoticed amid our celebrations—the environmental impact of Holi. I’ve firsthand witnessed the aftermath of the festivity, with streets and water bodies stained with synthetic dyes, and the remnants of plastic packaging strewn everywhere. It’s disheartening to see the environmental harm caused by the indiscriminate use of chemicals and plastics during this season.

In many regions of India, water scarcity is a pressing issue, and the extravagant use of water for Holi only exacerbates this problem. Witnessing the gallons of water being splashed around during the festivity made me acutely aware of the need for more responsible and eco-friendly ways to celebrate this cherished tradition.

The exuberant celebration of Holi, with its vibrant array of colors and playful splashing of water, is a tradition deeply rooted in Indian culture. However, the superfluous use of synthetic colors and water during Holi poses a significant threat to the environment. Synthetic Holi colors often contain harmful chemicals like lead, mercury, and asbestos, which not only have adverse effects on human health but also wreak havoc on Nature. When these synthetic colors are washed off, they seep into water bodies, contaminating them and disrupting the aquatic ecosystems.

Moreover, the excessive use of water during Holi exacerbates water scarcity issues, particularly in regions already facing water stress. In many cities and towns, the demand for water skyrockets during Holi as people engage in water fights and douse each other with water balloons and hoses. This reckless consumption of water not only strains local water resources but also contributes to water wastage, especially in areas where water conservation is crucial.

To mitigate the environmental threats posed by these synthetic colors and water wastage, concerted efforts are needed at both individual and societal levels. Embracing eco-friendly alternatives, such as natural plant-based colors, and promoting water conservation practices can significantly reduce the ecological footprint of Holi celebrations. Furthermore, raising awareness about the environmental consequences of these colors and encouraging responsible conscious water usage can foster a culture of sustainability during festive occasions.

In light of my experience, here are a few sustainable steps that can be adopted to make your Holi more eco-friendly:

  • Abandonment of synthetic colors and opting for natural alternatives like turmeric, beetroot, and henna. Not only are they safer for our skin, but they are also biodegradable!
  • Instead of wasting gallons of water in water balloons and hoses, consider organising dry Holi games or using minimal water. It’s a fun way to conserve water and reduce the detrimental imapct on the environment.
  • Support local artisans and businesses by purchasing handmade eco-friendly colors made from natural ingredients. Not only will you be promoting sustainable practices, but you’ll also be contributing to the livelihoods of our fellow community members.
  • Instead of using single-use plastics for storing colours, opt for reusable containers or cloth bags. It’s a small change, but it can make a big difference in reducing plastic waste during Holi.
  • Organise a neighbourhood cleanup drive after Holi celebrations to ensure that our surroundings remain clean and litter-free.
  • No festival is complete without sweets. Instead of buying sweets packed in plastic wrappers, opt for organic sweets packaged in eco-friendly materials. You can also consider making sweets at home using organic ingredients.
  • Lastly, take this opportunity to spread awareness about the importance of celebrating festivals in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner. Encourage your friends and family to follow these tips and make a positive impact on the environment.

While Holi is a time of joy and camaraderie, it’s crucial to acknowledge the environmental implications of our celebrations. While the memories of Holi fills me with nostalgia and longing, they also serve as a reminder of conserving our Nature. As we cherish the joyous spirit of the festival of colors, let’s also strive to make conscious choices that ensure a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come. By adopting eco-friendly practices and cultivating mindful consumption habits, we can ensure that the spirit of Holi remains vibrant while safeguarding the health of our planet.

Paridhi Madhukallya

Delhi North '26

Paridhi Madhukallya is a student at IPCW majoring in Political Science Honours. She is actively involved in various NGOs and organizations. Apart from her academic pursuits, she has a passion for singing and enjoys listening to music in her free time.Paridhi enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, showcasing her culinary talents. As a dedicated K-drama enthusiast, she finds joy in exploring the captivating world of Korean dramas. Additionally, her playlist is filled with the energetic beats of K-pop, reflecting her eclectic taste in music. Paridhi's life is a delightful blend of flavor, music and the enchanting entertainment of Korean culture.