Saturday, August 22, 2009

Opt for Eco-Friendly Ganesha , Save Environment

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

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 2009, date of Ganesh Chaturthi festival is August 23.

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.


Vik said...

Excellent message... Protecting the environment for future generations should be our primary concern while maintaining our traditions and rituals.

Common Hindu said...

Hello Blogger Friend,

Your excellent post has been back-linked in

- a blog for Daily Posts, News, Views Compilation by a Common Hindu
- Hindu Online.

Anonymous said...

Indians add green touch to religious festivals

MUMBAI - Few events can rival the ancient rituals and riotous color of India's religious festivals. This year, the months-long celebration season is also becoming eco-friendly.

Alarmed by the high levels of pollution caused by firecrackers, toxic paints and idols made of non-recyclable material, schools, environmentalists and some states are encouraging "greener" celebrations.

In Mumbai, where the 10-day festival for the elephant-headed Ganesha is underway with giant, colored idols and noisy street parties, radio and TV stations are airing environmental messages and school children are learning to make eco-friendly idols.

The statues, made of brightly painted plaster of Paris, are usually immersed in the sea or a lake after a lively procession that can sometimes take half a day to navigate the choked streets, and which ultimately leaves dismembered idols strewn along the shore.

But a growing number of Indians are opting for smaller clay idols which they immerse in water at home.

"It's easier to make an idol from plaster of Paris and they usually also look nicer. Clay is heavier -- on the pocket, as well, but it's a much more eco-friendly option," said Abhijit Karandikar, a creative director at an advertising agency.

For several years now, Karandikar has bought a 2-foot tall clay Ganesha for his home from a market in central Mumbai that sources its supplies from a family in a village nearby.

Karandikar, who has also convinced some friends and neighbors to go green, immerses his Ganesha in a tub of water at home and gives the clay to a school nearby for kids to play with.

"An idol that doesn't dissolve in the sea is just a tragic end for something you have worshipped for so many days," he said.

"More people are realizing they can be more eco-friendly in our festivals. It's something that's in our control."

Cheap plastic Ganeshas can be bought off the street for less than $1, but more specialist stores are now hawking Ganeshas fashioned from handmade paper and with vegetable dyes.

In the eastern state of West Bengal, the government is advocating a ban on painting idols with toxic chemicals for Durga Puja, a four-day festival for the fierce demon-slaying Hindu goddess.

While Durga idols are typically made of clay or hay, they are colored with paints that contain lead and cadmium that pollute the water, according to the state's pollution control board, which has proposed a nationwide ban on toxic paints.

"There are paints without these chemicals, but we cannot blame idol makers for not using them," said Biswajit Mukherjee, a law officer at the West Bengal Pollution Control Board.

"We have to plug the source of contamination itself by banning toxic chemical use in paints," he said.

Several artisans though, are not entirely convinced.

"There is no way to know which paint is toxic, which is not," said Nabakumar Pal in the idol makers' hub of Kumartuli.

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