Ahead of Holi, faculties and students of Dnyanprassarak Mandal’s College and Research Centre (DMC), Assagao, have prepared thousands of kilograms of organic and non-toxic natural organic colours from flowers and herbs. The project has been taken up not only as a green initiative, but also as an entrepreneurship venture for students, who will earn from its sale.
The college has collaborated with GoVan project of Goa State Biodiversity Board supported by Dept of Environment and Goa State Pollution Control Board. The faculties and students have also trained women’s Self-Help Groups (SHG) in preparing the colours in the adopted villages of the college such as Hassapur, Chandel. A workshop has also been taken up for women from Govan Multiprocessing Centre of Goa State Biodiversity Board supported by Department of Environment and Climate Change Govt of Goa, in association with Goa State Pollution Control Board. This will enable the women to earn an additional income during Holi.
“Last year, the project was taken up by a few faculties and students of the college on a pilot basis, and prepared only a few kilograms of the organic colour. This initiative was welcomed whole-heartedly which was publicly very well appreciated. This year, the project has been scaled up. As a college, we are committed to fulfilling our social obligations. We have offered an environmental science programme, besides installing rainwater harvesting, solar panels, etc, on our campus. We wanted to take our green focus beyond the campus,” said College Principal, Prof. D. B. Arolkar.
He said that, during Holi, markets are flooded with highly toxic colours that contain dangerous metals like mercury, copper, and cadmium. The metals are used to enhance the brightness of the colors. Other adulterants, like chalk, also cause serious ailments with a long-lasting effect followed with permanent disorder to our precious organs. The chemicals also end up polluting water and soil. We wanted to show that an alternative is available,” said Prof. Arolkar. While the pollution board certified the colours, the biodiversity board helped with the packaging.
The institute has prepared the eco-friendly colours using natural materials, like turmeric, bixa seeds, indigo leaves said the Adviser of the Holi Color Team Dr. Rajesh Pednekar. He also said “Students are part of the sales, marketing, and branding processes,”.
The launch of the Green Holi Initiative was done by Chief Minister, Dr. Pramod Sawant, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Nilesh Cabral.
Looking at the thronging markets to buy organic colours, this year, DMC has mass-produced almost a ton (1000kgs) of natural holi colour. A working team headed by Dr. Prabhat Desai, along with other faculty members Dr. Umesh Gawas, Dr. Sinthiya Gawandi, Dr.Sudesh Morajkar, Dr. Ram Gawas, Dr. Vruta Kadkade, Dr. Abhijit Shetgaonkar and Dr. Dipesh Harmalkar are striving hard to visualise this startup to be promoted state-wide to make our festivals chemical free thus contributing towards environmental conservation, states a press release.