Durga Puja, the biggest festival among of Bengali Hindus, is gearing up to go eco-friendly this year as eminent group of the priests have instructed fellow priests to perform the rituals without the use of plastic.
Vaidik Pandit O Purohit Mahamilan Kendra, an organisation of priests performing pujas, issued the diktat to all its members in West Bengal, urging them not to use plastic in any form while performing the prayer rituals.
According to the diktat, no devotee can offer garlands, flowers or fruits in polythene carry bags. Plastic flowers used for decorating idols and plastic pouches for distributing bhog (food of the goddess) would also be barred this year.
"We want all puja pandals (marquees) to be eco-friendly this year and only biodegradable embellishments should be encouraged for decoration," Kendra president Nemai Chakraborty said.
He said apart from environmental pollution, the huge quantity of plastic used during Durga Puja could lead to disaster if a fire broke out.
There are 250 priests in the organisation. They are associated with 1,038 Durga Pujas in and around Kolkata.
The decision to ban the use of plastic for the festival was taken by all members of the organisation last month.
Apart from placing a ban on the use of plastic, the member priests have also been asked to discourage the use of candles and wax during the coming festival.
Instead, the priests have been asked to promote diyas that are filled with ghee or oil. "We have banned the use of candles and wax since these are made of paraffin, which is injurious to health," Chakraborty said.