Widespread campaigns are already on for an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi festival but still a large section of the society are unaware of the pollution and environmental damage caused by Plaster of Paris idols and chemical paints. Some large Ganesha Pandal committees, to attract maximum crowd conveniently forget the environmental impact caused by the idols. In 2008, date of Ganesh Chaturthi festival is September 3.
The main pollution is caused by the Plaster of Paris Ganesh idols and the chemical paints used in them.
- Plaster of Paris (POP) is not a naturally occurring material and contains gypsum, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium. The idols take several months to dissolve in water and in the process poison the waters of lake, ponds, rives and seas.
- The chemical paints used to decorate the Ganesh idol contain mercury, lead, cadmium and carbon and this increases the acidity and heavy metal content in the water.
- Several accessories used during the Ganesh Puja like Thermocole, plastic flowers, cloth, incense, camphor and numerous other materials are dumped carelessly adding more strain to the already polluted rivers and lakes.
- Careless dumping of Ganesh idols in waterbodies blocks the natural flow of water. This results in stagnation and breeding of mosquitoes and other harmful pests
- The polluted water causes several diseases including skin diseases.
- The pollution from Ganesh Chaturthi idols also damages the ecosystem, kills fishes and water plants.
- In many areas, the same polluted water gets pumped into homes.
- Use eco-friendly clay idols painted with natural colors.
- Use permanent idols made of stone and perform a symbolic immersion and reuse the idol each year.