New Delhi: Ravana went up in flames on Tuesday evening, marking an end to 9-day long festivities. But this time it released lesser toxic residues in the city’s air, courtesy eco-friendly alternatives used by several Ramlila organisers.
From employing audio systems mimicking the sound of crackers to completely giving them a miss, and some using scarcely available green-crackers to others opting for innovative alternatives like balloons and electrical system, the capital witnessed a relatively cleaner Dussehra celebrations across the city. An attempt on increasing the awareness about pollution and plastic waste was also made by putting up an extra effigy at most places.
At DDA Grounds in Sector-10, Dwarka, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the Ramlila celebrations—all three effigies went up in flames in a matter of few minutes. What was different though was the absence of the toxic smoke filled with heavy metals, and any bursting sound. Organisers had to announce it to people that no crackling sound was accompanying the effigy burning due to the use of green crackers. Devotees were instead exhorted to use claps to supplement the “cracker sound”.
At the Red Fort foregrounds, the winds of change were clearly visible. “This is the first time in its 96 years of history that Sri Dharmic Lila committee has completely given up on any kind of fireworks,” informed Ravi Jain, one of the organisers. “We did not use any firecrackers in the effigies. An 8-foot high digital wall had been set up to display “digital effigy burning”.
Across the road, at Nav Sri Dharmik Lila committee event, the devotees could hear the noise of crackers being put to fire. But to everyone’s relief, no real crackers were employed. Audio systems were used to supplement the effect of the firecrackers. “The noise was mimicked in the special audio recordings played on the big speakers,” Rahul Sharma from the committee explained. They also used a 4th effigy of “Plastic devil”.
The Indraprastha Ramlila burnt an effigy of panchmukhi (five-faced) pollution snake, which represented air, water and sound pollutants, single-use plastic and garbage.
Across the city, Ramlila organised by Shri Ramleela Committee, PU block, Pitampura, used ‘cold crackers’ and electric sparking to recreate the effects of firecrackers. “These innovative changes don’t produce much heat and pollution,” Naresh Mehta from the committee said.
At Ramlila Maidan, the ministry of housing and urban affairs mechanically destroyed a Ravana effigy made of plastic waste. Ramlilas in Janakpuri B1A Block opted to use Ravana effigies made up of balloons which were then popped by children.