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Ganesh Chaturthi Nirmalya Segregation and Flower Recycling to make Natural Holi Colors in Pune

Hundreds of kilos of flowers are used for puja and decoration during Ganesh Chaturthi festival. As part of eco-friendly Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations in Pune, e-coexist, an environmental organization, is going to recycle the flowers used during Ganesh Chaturthi festival to make colors natural colors for Holi festival.

Ganesh Chaturthi Nirmalya Segregation project of E-coexist

One of the biggest outputs of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival is the tonnes of 'nirmalya' - the offerrings collected during the immersion. These offerings are made of several items : flower garlands, fruits, coconuts, spices, honey and camphor. While most of the offerings themselves are made of natural items, they come wrapped in plastic bags, plastic boxes or glass bottles.

Traditionally, these items were meant to be immersed with the Ganesh idols, as an offering back to nature. However, since immersion of these on large scale is bound to cause problems, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has successfully convinced devotees to deposit their 'nirmalya' bags in kalash shaped bins near the ghats.

eCoexist will be sponsoring an experimental project which involves using flowers collected at the Yerawada and Bund Garden ghats to make natural colour. This project has been inspired by work we are already doing around the festival of Holi.

The women prisoners of the Yerawada Central Jail have already been trained on how to make natural colour from flowers such as marigold. In 2006, this experiment was carried out on a smaller scale along with the children of the ASHA school under the banner of Kalpavriksh .

The success of the project will depend on two unknown factors:
1. The quantity of nirmalya collected.
2. The weather.

If the monsoon continues , the drying process of the flowers may not be complete and the flowers will then be used to make compost for the jail farms.