Indian festivals may be better known for their glamour and glitz, but a group in Almere has decided to put recycling front and centre in its October Durga Puja.
The group is asking neighbours for donations of electronic waste, from cables to old telephones, and these will be used to create works of art during the four-day festival from October 20.
The aim, says the Almere Durga Puja organisers, is also to broaden the reach of the festival to include more people in Almere.
“We want to make it a bit more responsible and inclusive and spread the message of integration as well,” said a spokeswoman. “We are trying not to just think of glamour, glitz, food and drink and dance. Indian festivals are all about food, good dress, Bollywood music, dance, but we just wanted to do it a little bit differently!”
Working with the Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage, a development organisation which supports rural and tribal people in India, the Almere Durga Puja will create artistic displays from the e-waste. Donations from the local community will be used and after the festivities the waste will be recycled via Almere municipal council.
The aim, the group says, is to raise awareness of the amount of electronic waste people have at home and point out that it can sometimes be reused as well as recycled. The annual Hindu festival also aims this year to support “empowerment” of women through job opportunities and “integrating locals and internationals in this world of thin borders”.
“Basically we had seen so many different festivals all around the world and we don’t want to just make it another one,” said president Abhijit Mondal, who hopes to convince people that sometimes waste can do good. “We want to do something for the betterment of the society and the environment.”