Celebrating Ganesh Mahotsav the eco-friendly wayAround the city, Events & Happenings — By Namraata Badheka on September 22, 2012 at 6:04 PM
Ganesh Chaturthi is a festive celebration that calls for elaborate preparations, from delicacies to interestingly decorated idols and intricate pujas. We all put in extensive efforts into bringing home and please our benevolent Ganpati Bappa. The visarjan of the Ganesh idols symbolizes Nature’s series of creation and destruction. The Ganesh idols, eons ago, used to be made up of natural materials such as clay. As time went by, the idols witnessed a change in the materials used for its making. Plaster of Paris, being lighter and cheap as compared to other materials, became the preferred material. Containing sulphur, phosphorous, magnesium and other toxic substances, the colours used to paint these idols contain lead, carbon, etc. The toxicity rose post the visarjan over the years. Finding dead fish on the shores wasn’t a new thing. Not only that, reports also indicated water stagnancy due to the plastic litter used for the offerings during the fest. This left the stagnant waters as the breeding grounds for major illnesses related to skin, blood and eyes. With pollution levels rising alarmingly, people have now taken up to the concept of eco-friendly Ganesh idols.
With rising awareness among people regarding the environmental damage caused due to the toxic celebrations during this festival, people have adopted to idols made of natural clay. This being a biodegradable natural material, it quickly dissolves into water, leaving barely any traces behind. Even the colours used to dye the idols are organic. A while back, clay used for making the idols was rarely available and required booking the idols in advance.
Today, organizations promoting eco-friendly products have taken up the cause seriously. ECoexist, one such organization, has reported a rise in eco-friendly Ganesh murthis. The founder, Manisha Gutman, says that the sales of biodegradable idols have risen over the years. This year has seen a spectacular increase in sales. She says that they’ve conducted many workshops on eco-friendly idols. The response of the public has been marvellous.
An interesting fact that’s becoming a rage is the “re-use” of the Ganesh idols. Quite many people have resorted to stone idols that they take for a “dip” during visarjan and bring back home for the next years’ celebrations. Along with this concept, water tank visarjan has been catching up with the eco-friendly celebrations. We shall talk about this later.
Ganpati Bappa will be more than happy that Mother Nature is being looked after by many during his festival.