Updated: March 2, 2018 7:45:56 am
With the festival of colours approaching, organic colours are flooding the market and a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Thane is boosting an eco-friendly Holi by helping children make their own natural and organic colours.
Members of the Paryavaran Dakshta Mandal have been conducting workshops for schoolchildren for over a month now. “We use ingredients available in almost all households. Whatever is unavailable can be procured, sometimes without spending money,” explained an NGO member, Hemangi Sawant.
“Turmeric powder, flowers of marigold and flame of the forest, raw waste of beetroot and spinach and kattha used in paan are used as ingredients to obtain colour pigments. For dry colours, we mix the shade-dried and finely crushed ingredients with rice flour. For instantly-made wet colour, we just crush the dried ingredients and mix them with water,” Sawant said. These methods are being taught to schoolchildren across Kalyan, Dombivali and Thane.
According to another member of the NGO, Nishtha Raut, “The steps are easy and even parents or elder siblings of small children can help. Within minutes, the colours are ready.”
The NGO, according to Sawant, has been holding similar workshops for the past 18 years. “However, now when we approach schools, they are more receptive; the children understand the importance of organic colours more (these days),” said another member of the NGO Rupali Shaiwale.
She added, “Children generally don’t have access to these organic colours. But now, they are aware of the issue.” Meanwhile, with increasing awareness about the dangers of chemical colours, stores selling organic colours in the city have seen a significant rise in demand. Suriti, the culture shop in Powai, has been selling organic colours for the last eight years and has seen the demand considerably increasing every year. “We started by selling around 50 boxes of our five-colour package but last year, the number increased to 150 boxes. This year, we are left with only 10 per cent of the stock. Families now prefer to buy organic colours for their children as they know it to be safer,” said a supervisor of the store.
Hina Chokshi, who has been selling eco-colours for the last decade, says she had also noticed a similar trend. The colours are derived from natural products like turmeric, beetroot and indigo. Chokshi gets the colour processed from parts of Vidarbha and Ganeshpuri in a bid to ensure rural economy benefits from it. “The products have to be dried in an open area and then ground and powdered. I get them done in the rural areas as they have more space and the farmers also get additional income,” said Chokshi.
According to Chokshi, people are also ordering organic colours for weddings and birthday parties. “We have received orders for birthday and wedding parties as they were falling on Holi. Schools have also ordered them to ensure the kids play an eco-friendly Holi,” she said.
These colours are more expensive than chemical colours but are preferred for their safety. “As compared to chemical colours, which are harmful for the skin, these (organic colours) are good for the skin. They are also easy to wash off and do not leave behind marks. Since they are made of natural products they are safe for kids. Also when the (organic) coloured water flows into the soil it will act as a manure and not pollute it,” Chokshi explained.
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