Ganesh Chaturthi is the most celebrated festival all over India. Many small businesses boom in this period. You can see streets embellished with lightings, garlands, sweets, and pandals. But the majority of Ganpati idols contain the materials which cause harm to the environment. Every year, lacs of Ganpati idols gets immersed in the water bodies. But still, we are not moving from the inbuilt tradition.
What are people doing for so many days?
Huge pandals tend to keep big idols not thinking about the consequences of it. They are competing whether whose idol will be the biggest, who will wear exclusive jewelry, and so on. Many people keep big idols at their home too and are ignoring the effects caused by this on the environment. The food for thought is that keeping a big idol will not signify your status symbol. Moreover, immersing the Plaster of Paris (POP) idol in an artificial pond is not the right approach as that water ultimately reaches the waterbodies.
Let’s Check out the ill effects of tHIS
1. Idol made from the POP creates water pollution in the pond or seas where the idol gets immersed. It directly attacks the ocean waters as the idol is not able to dissolve in the water. If you happen to be on the beaches, after a few days of visarjan, the condition which you will see is there will be very pathetic.
2. The golden color in the idols is insoluble in the water. Due to this, a layer is formed on the waterbodies. This layer does not allow oxygen from the air to dissolve in the water. It becomes a suffocating for fishes inside the water. Also, the paints used acts like poison as it contains lead for the aquatic species. Due to this, it hampers the aquatic life and many dead fishes get wash ashore after the visarjan.
3. The decorative items used in this celebration flow into the water bodies. For example, they can be diamonds on the idols, plastic decorative pieces, and so on. These items also cannot be dissolved in water and are eaten by the aquatic species. It can damage their inner parts and eventually lead to death.
4. The water bodies get polluted and the same water is used in the farms too and even the seafood which we consume or the salt which we intake daily gets affected. All of the things we eat need water and this water is already getting polluted. The cycle keeps repeating! It is high time that we realize we too are eating poison.
On the contrary, this year the situation is turning out to be better. It is because of the Coronavirus pandemic! Taking an example of Mumbai, every year more than 50,000 idols are immersed in the designated spots. But for the first time since the last 40 years, Ganesh Mandals agreed to reduce the size of Idols. Instead of 15-20 feet idol, 3-4 feet idol has to be made. The main aim behind this is to protect the large gathering of people to lift the idol and maintain the social distancing norms. But the question remains unanswered about the material from which they will be making the idols.
Ray of hope to protect waterbodies
Chinu Kwatra has started beach cleanup at Dadar Beach, Mumbai in 2017. It started during the Ganesh Chaturthi when he witnessed the idols washed up on the shore. He with his few friends started cleaning the beach. They picked up the broken pieces of idols and undissolved idols that were returned to the beaches by the waves. Over 3,000 Mumbaikars joined hands and it began a movement and named Beach Warriors. They and volunteers clean the beaches every weekend and public holidays. The only mission of the team is to fight against plastic pollution and save our oceans. He and his team are doing great and till now they have collected over 2,200 tons of garbage.
So, what you can do from your side TO BECOME a responsible citizen On this Ganesh Chaturthi?
Clay Ganpati idol
Ganpati idol is made from the clay which is also known as shadu mitti. It is delicately crafted by the skilled artisans. Also, a variation is available in this type. The clay idol has plant seeds inside them. During the visarjan, the idol is kept in the pot filled with soil and the idol has to be watered. After 7 to 10 days, the idol gets fully dissolved and the seeds start germinating. A beautiful plant gets grown in some days. You can also make clay idol at your home.
Red Soil Ganpati idol
This type of idol is made of pure red soil along with natural fertilizers and seeds. Similar to the clay tree idol, this can be washed out and converted into a plant. Many celebrities like Dia Mirza, Hrithik Roshan, and Riteish Deshmukh have opted for red soil Ganpati idols at their home. There are zero chemicals used to develop these types of Ganpati.
Ganpati Idol with Fish Food
This unique idea is started by “Sprouts Environment Trust”. They have several pick-up points in the Mumbai region. Idol is made up of clay and organic colors. Inside the idol, there exists vegetarian fish food. The idol is of 9 inches and costs about Rs.1350. After visarjan in the water bodies or your house pond, fish food remains. Fishes are fed with food automatically when the idol gets fully dissolved. Thereby, protecting the aquatic species and nurturing them.
Paper Ganpati idol
The idol is made through a mixture of paper mache and clay. The colors used in this idol are non-toxic. If you want idols ranging between 3-4 feet, this is the best option to get an eco-friendly Ganpati idol.
Multani Mitti Ganpati idol
What’s unique about this idol? This beautiful idol gets an appealing look due to the outer paint by Multani Mitti. This idol is made from clay and painted with the Multani Mitti.
Permanent Ganpati idol
Many people are opting for the permanent Ganpati Idol. This can be of marble, silver, or gold. During Ganesh Chaturthi, they keep the idol and do the pujas. On the visarjan day, they keep the Ganpati back in their home simply after washing it. This is called “Smart Visarjan”!
It is a need of an hour for every one of us to bring a change. With eco-friendly idol, you can also adopt eco-friendly paper makhar, garland, biodegradable plates, composting methods, and decorative items. Inspire your friends and family to adopt this. This change might be small for you but it will benefit the environment around you. You can make your place a better place to live in. Let’s make this Ganesh Chaturthi more cleaner and greener!