Festivities enjoying themselves. Melas or Fairs are

Festivities are considered as series of event conducted by people for the fulfillment of
cultural needs. Irrespective of region, religion, castes we could see celebration of festivities with
joy and prosperity. People do celebrate festivities because get together of family member, to
come away from monotonous lifestyle and have some delicious food. Apart from these positive
things festivities are the way to pollute environment in all sphere, like air, water, soil, noise
pollution. From this study researcher has assessed the awareness level among people about
ecological pollution during festivities and Explored Social work intervention to bring awareness
about celebrating festivities without harming ecology. Descriptive research design was adopted
for this study. Non probability sampling method was used with purposeful sample technique. 50
samples were drawn from universal for this study. The study found, that Indian cultural influence
and low awareness about ecological protection among people are leading towards pollution
(Environment foot print) in the name of festivities. Researcher has came up with Social Work
intervention to bringing awareness among people regarding environment protection. Simple
percentile and central tendency methods were used for statistical analysis and SPSS 20 was used
to compute data.
Key Words: Pollution, festivities, ecology
Electronic copy available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3085426
Introduction
India is a land where the life of its people is beautified with festivals. Festival is a
celebration of the changing seasons, harvest, reconciliation and the birth anniversaries of saints,
gurus and prophets and honors the gods and goddesses. Epigraphically evidences prove that
festivals have been celebrated in India since Vedic times. The Aryans conquered India around
1500 B.C. and cultural integration with the local population took place. Religious Festivals a
large number of festivals being celebrated in India have a religious outlook. These festivals are
being celebrated in commemoration of some saints, gurus and prophets, the gods and goddesses
or events celebrating their victories. Temple Festivals No festival in India is complete without a
feast, and the Hindu temple provides feasts during the temple festivals. The attendees spend all
day at the temple, enjoying themselves. Melas or Fairs are extremely popular not just in India
but all over the world. Fairs serve a very important role as most of the festivals are celebrated in
individual homes. Fairs that are normally celebrated for a week to over a month help to bring the
community together and share greetings. National Festivals Independence Day, August 15,
commemorates the day in 1947 when India achieved freedom from British rule. The day is
celebrated to commemorate the birth of the world`s biggest democracy as a national festival.
Regional Festivals India presents a cultural potpourri of number of religions with their festivals
and celebrations but the four major religions followed in India are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity
and Sikhism in the descending order. There are a number of regional festivals that are celebrated
in particular areas only.
Impact of festivals on ecology
The din and noise of crackers during Deepavali (which can more correctly be called the ‘festival
of sound’ instead of ‘festival of light’) are so loud and unbearable that it is necessary to think
seriously about the health hazards associated with it. Immersion of Ganesh idols after the
Ganesh festival in various cities is causing severe water pollution which leads to the death of
tones of fish and many aquatic creatures. Gone are the days when the idols are made with clay,
nowadays idols are made with Plaster Of Paris and chemical dyes.
Divali one of the important festivals in India has the distinction of polluting the environment to
the core. Newborns and aged people have a terrible experience because of the high levels of
sound caused by crackers during Deepavali. Noise pollution on Deepavali is between 69.7 db
and 88.3 db which are higher than the prescribed limit of 50db. The decibel levels alarmingly
high in metros and it may reach up to 100 db.
Clearly environmental groups and eco-clubs are fighting a losing battle. They come up with
awareness campaigns and slogans like “Deepavali is a festival of lights, not crackers celebrate an
eco-sensitive Deepavali this year”, but nobody seems to take notice. Apart from the noise,
crackers release a lot of toxic gases like Sulfur dioxide and Nitrogen dioxide which can lead to
many health problems. Chemicals used in crackers like lead, magnesium, cadmium,
nitrate, sodium, and others can have various harmful effects (Singh, 2015)
Press Trust of India (October 31, 2016) Deepavali fireworks pushed pollution in Delhi to a
dangerous level, the worst in three years, as it turned the air highly toxic due to a deadly cocktail
of harmful respirable pollutants and gases, engulfing the city with a cover of thick smog
triggering health alarms. Various monitoring agencies including Delhi Pollution Control
Committee (DPCC), Central Pollution Control Board, Pune-based SAFAR and Centre for
Science and Environment were unanimous about the severity of the air quality in the city (India,
2016).
Adit Suneja wrote an article entitled ‘Environment and Modernity’ in 2009. Right from
festivals to holiday trips to party celebrations our actions disrupt the balance in nature. Starting
with the festivals many of them involve submerging sacred statues in rivers or seas causing water
pollution. Water bodies have self drawing ability, but it polluted beyond the saturation point,
they disturb the aquatic life. Many varieties of fish are known to have become endangered due to
our negligence. Some festivals involve blasting crackers which causes air pollution. Not only
this, stray animals suffer severe trauma because of the unbearable noise of crackers (Suneja,
2009)
Press Trust of India reports (2012) apart from all the fun and cultural integrity, the Ganesha
festival also has some bad impact on environment. According to tradition, on the last day of
festival, all the idols are immersed in the nearby lakes or rivers. It causes a pollution of these
important water resources. Most of the idols are made of plaster of paris and painted with
harmful chemical colours which are polluting the water bodies. Also, along with idols, there are
other non-biodegradable accessories used during the worship which are also immersed in the
water bodies. In big cities like, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad etc. where commercialization has took
this festival to another level; the pollution caused by the devotees is on a very large scale.
Hussain Sagar Lake located in Hyderabad city where the Ganesha festival is celebrated on small
scale compared to mega cities in Maharashtra state; more than 5000 Ganesha idols are immersed
in this only one lake (IndianToday, Oct. 6, 2012). The scenario of all the garbage in the lakes on
next day after immersion ceremony is really bad.
Sustainability and Social Work
There are three types of sustainability in social work: social, economic, and
environmental. Social work has focused on social, touched on economic, and largely ignored
environmental. Social workers are familiar with social sustainability, which recognizes that
individual health and well-being, nutrition, shelter, education, and cultural needs must be met
(Brennan, 2010).
Mary proposed expanding social work values to include transpersonal elements and demands
that social work education, in academic coursework, fieldwork, and continuing education, take a
radical look at the ways in which social workers can help improve their clients’ world,
figuratively and literally. Her collaborative model includes the three elements of sustainability
but also proposes a new way of looking at systems to include the interconnectedness espoused in
transpersonal theory plus an emphasis on the spiritual dimension and nonviolent politics. Mary’s
model encourages workers to be stewards or caretakers of the Earth (Mary, 2008).
Cowley et al. (1994) have also been a proponent of social work adapting a transpersonal
approach as opposed to the strictly reactive modernist approaches. Postmodern approaches,
including that of transpersonal theory, suggest that exposing social work students to a
transpersonal perspective that includes the spiritual dimension could have far-reaching
implications for the relevancy of social work education to current human events. The
interconnectedness that both Cowley and Mary endorse comes at a time when political and
global environments demand it (Cowley & Derezotes, 1994).
To understand Indian perception about festivals and social ceremonies we must understand
Anthropological base of Indian. India is caste driven country relics of hierarchy among caste
even today practicing in different farms. On the ground of caste socializing perceptions have
been developed among Indians. Louis Dumont (1970), his Homo Hierarchic us, a seminal work
in Indian anthropology, argued Hindu Indians are fundamentally different from western people
in this context people see themselves in the caste system as part of ritual hierarchy. Their sense
of individuality is submissive to their identification with their family, caste and village. Whereas
western people born and brought up with individualistic context, hence family and other
institution will not influence more on individuals (Dumont, 1980).
Marriot and Inden (1977) were modified this to say that an Indian is not an individual, as much
as ‘dividual”. A devidual’s identity is made up of different transferable “substances” that they
give and receive in their interactions with others. These substances then come together in a
dynamic, negotiated, interactive manner to achieve a sense of self. Thus, personhood is defined
entirely in terms of one’s relationships to other. Dividual refers to separate or distinct, because
Rationale of the study
Through the influence of culture, people are celebrating festivities and ceremonies even
more expensive especially in urban dwellers are spending more on these celebration. Along with
celebrating, people are making more pollution in terms of air, sound, water, soil, and so on.
Especially in Ganesha, deepavali festivals more prone to face ecological exploitation through
using plaster of Paris Ganesha Idles and immersing thousand together to lakes and water bodies
and cracking crackers in Deepavali festival season. Addition to this disposal of festivals wastes
is a big challenge for city municipalities and corporations. Due to cultural influence and low
awareness level among people regarding ecological protection and sustainable development,
leading towards this kind of incidence. It is high time our policy makers shrug off concerns of
hurting religious sentiments by enforcing certain regulations during festivities. It will lead to
disastrous results if we are continue to play with our environment and disturb the natural balance
when we know that India is rated as one of the most polluted countries of the world. Waste
management, waste segregation and control have to be initiated at all levels and the public must
be made aware of how to dispose domestic wastes. A total ban on all festival extremities is not
the answer. Rules and regulations should be imposed on festive activities which have drastic
impact on our environment. This will help us to address an ever growing problem of pollution in
and around our cities and localities (Sujoy Chatterjee, 2010)
Objectives of the Study
? To assess awareness level among people about ecological protection during festivities
? To explore Social work intervention to bring awareness about celebrating festivities
without harming ecology.
Materials and Method
The study was descriptive in nature hence, descriptive research design was used. Qualitative and
quantitative method of data’s were drawn from Shimoga, Tumkur, Chitrdurga, davangere district
headquarters respondents with the help of purposeful sampling technique also used Focus Group
Discussion (FGD) total 50 sample were collected and 1 focus group discussion made with
respondents in all district headquarters in total 4 FGD conducted. Simple percentile and central
tendency methods were used fro statistical analysis and SPSS 20 was used to compute data.
Results and Discussion
Table 1: Socio-economic condition of respondents.
Sl. No Education Frequency Percenttage
1 Illiterate 02 04
2 Primary 04 08
3 Secondary 08 16
4 Intermediate 12 24
5 Graduate 22 44
Sex
1 Male 38 76
2 Female 12 24
Age
1 18 to 28 20 40
2 28 to 38 20 40
3 38 to 48 10 20
Occupation
1 Business 16 32
2 Working at private and
government
20 40
3 House wife 03 06
4 Labourer 11 22
Marital status
1 Married 42 84
2 Unmarried 04 8
3 Widow/Widower 04 8
Income
1 Below 12000 09 18
2 12,000 to 25,000 08 16
3 25,000 to 50,000 21 42
4 50,000 and above 12 24
Source: primary
The above table number 1 depicts that, socio-economic position of respondents majority i.e. 76
percent of the respondents were male, majority 80 percent (40 each 18-28 and 28-38 age
groups)of the respondents falls in the age group of 18 to 38 years it clearly shows they were all
in earning age. 44 percent of them were graduates, 24 percent of respondents were intermediate
and 16 percent of respondents had secondary level of education, 08 percent of the respondents
had primary education and remaining 4 percent were illiterates. 40 percent of the respondents
were working at private and government organization as employees, followed by 32 percent of
them were running their own business for livelihood, 22 percent of them were laborers working
at unorganized sector like construction workers. Majority 84 percent of them were married and
42 percent of them were having income of 25,000 to 50,000 INR per annum. Those who were
dwelling in cities there income level especially unorganized sector labourer income level and
job security were low compared to other workers.
Table-2 Awareness level among respondents about festivals pollutions.
Items Yes No Cant say Percentage
1. About using of crackers and plaster of paris
Ganesha idol can harm ecology
46.00 54.00 00.00 100
2. God will curse if we do not perform festivals
without keeping idol
78.00 14.00 08.00 100
3. spending on festivals and using of all environment
resources are allowed in the name of festival
72.00 28.00 00.00 100
4. on the ground of religion we are ready to use and
abuse all existing resources
84.00 14.00 02.00 100
5. Celebrating festivals creates unity and social
fabrics.
64.00 32.00 04.00 100
6. celebrate and burst crackers for amusement 68.00 32.00 00.00 100
7. celebrate festivals for the sake of social status 82.00 12.00 06.00 100
Mean 70.57 26.57 2.85 100
Source: Primary
The study found that, 46 percent of the respondents had awareness about using of
crackers and plaster of Paris (POP) Ganesha idol can harm ecology. 86 percent of the respondent
opined God will curse if we do not perform festivals without keeping idol. 72 percent of the
respondents said that, spending on festivals and using of resources are allowed in the name of
festival. 86 percent of the respondents opined on the ground of religion we are ready to use and
abuse all existing resources. 64 percent of the respondents opined celebrating festivals creates
unity and social fabrics. 68 percent of respondents said they celebrate and burst crackers for
amusement, 88 percent of the respondents said celebrate festivals for the sake of social status.
An average 70.57 percent of the respondents had dichotomy in opinion because they agreed for
not to use POP Ganesha idols but they said yes God will curse if we do not perform festivals
without keeping idol it shows how the cultural influence ruling us. Also said on the ground of
religion we are ready to use and abuse all existing resources and respondents said yes for
celebrating festivals creates unity and social fabrics. From this discussion it clearly shows in the
name of religion and festivals they were ready to pollute environment.
Researchers have made 4 Focus Group Discussion with Hindu religion people at one each FGD
in one district headquarters, there were 7 members present in that discussion researcher found
that, they celebrate average 10 festivals in a year for the sake of cultural satisfaction, they never
hesitate to go for debt to celebrate festivals even more glorious. They raised opinion that, if we
stop doing festivities that will harm to our culture and the same time another key person said
some times we resist to spend more on anti ecological things but we again influenced by society
to do so in the name of god. Researcher asked festivities harm ecology intensively what do you
think about this? They responded if we stop doing festivities our culture become dilute, hence we
ought to celebrate festivals with high intensity but we should not go for environmental
degradation we should go with eco friendly and reducing series of festivities number than we
could able to save money as well as protect our ecology. These discussions happen in focus
group discussion conducted in 4 district headquarters.
Need for Social Work Intervention and Policy Implication
Increasingly, social work has come to explore, even if it doesn’t embrace, environmental
issues as part of the profession’s mandate. Recognition of the importance of the natural world in
healing can be found in adventure-based programs such as the Eden Alternative in long-term
care, animal-assisted therapies, and Fresh Air Kids. These programs recognize the importance of
the natural world. Programs emphasizing the conservation of natural resources are not often
found in social work organizations or general social work practice, but hopefully this will
change. As mentioned, CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) made sustainability the
focus of their 2010 conference. In Pennsylvania, the NASW (National Association of Social
Work) announced that the opening ceremony for the 2011 annual conference will be “Marcellus
Shale Natural Gas Extraction in Pennsylvania: Effects on Communities, Families, and Natural
Resources,” which will discuss the social, economic, and environmental impact of natural gas
extraction. Community practice roles for social workers will be discussed, with an emphasis on
partnerships that promote community education, planning, and advocacy.
In 2006, the March/April issue of Social Work Today reported on graduates of Manchester
College in North Manchester, who wore green ribbons signifying that they had taken a
graduation pledge: “I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental
consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organization for
which I work.” This symbolic step denotes a level of awareness not generally asserted by
graduates (Dewane, 2011).
Social Worker must be appointed in all wards level to disseminate awareness to households to
community, Social Case Work, Social Group Work and Community organization methods can
be used holistically to bring awareness among people to reduce ecological pollution by
celebrating less festivals with eco friendly. To stimulate public awareness, brochures, posters,
games, calendars, museum exhibits, public service announcements (for print, radio, and
television), and even entertainment programming should be used. Community-wide planning and
education should be encouraged. Schools, government organizations, community and business
and neighborhood organizations, hospital and medical groups, and the news media should all be
involved.
Limitations and further studies
The study was restricted to 4 district headquarters Shimoga, Tumkur, Chtradurga and Davangere
City respondents only covered in this study. Study was restricted to Hindu religion people only
because more festivals can be seen in the religion. The inference were drawn from the study will
not be generalized to all population because festivals, environmental pollution and awareness
level may be differ from one place to another. Further studies can be taken up in different places
to assess awareness about ecological degradation; also studies can be made on clinical
assessment how the cultural influence creating ecological degradation by people. Rural people
can be assessed and Social Work intervention in Micro, mezzo and macro level can be tested.
Conclusion
Festivals are the reflections of culture, especially Indians are more driven by culture therefore
they celebrate series of festivals also it is considered as diversity from one festivals to another
also region to region. In the name of festivals people go for high expenditure and intern to get
amusement people pollute the ecology, especially in urban dwellers are spending more on these
celebration. Along with celebrating, people are making more pollution in terms of air, sound,
water, soil, and so on. Especially in Ganesha, deepavali festivals more prone to face ecological
exploitation through using plaster of Paris Ganesha Idles and immersing thousand together to
lakes and water bodies and brusting crackers in Deepavali festival season. Along with that
especially in cities traffic problem, disposal of plastics, garbage dumping and all sorts of
ecological degradation happen, hence festivals are also cause for man made disasters. However,
Social Worker must be appointed in all wards level to disseminate awareness to households to
community. Social Case Work, Social Group Work and Community organization methods can
be used holistically to bring awareness among people to reduce ecological pollution by
celebrating less festival with eco friendly

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