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Punaravartan: Revamping The Non-Renewable Clay To Make It Ganesh Chaturthi Ready

Pune based Non-Governmental organisation, eCoexist foundation, launched the campaign 'Punarvartan', to recycle old Lord Ganesha clay idols donated by people and remould them into new ones, to reduce the impact of immersing idols on the environment

The team initially experimented with the damaged idols and it worked positively. They further expanded the idea and approached people with the idea of conducting the immersion process at their homes and donating the idol for recycling purposes.

By 2021, the eCoexist team had collected about 30 kg of clay through small donation drives and recycled it into new ones to bring it back to the market. The campaign was later joined by 22 NGOs in the city.

One of the partners of the campaign, Dr. Rajesh Manerikar, lauded the initiative, saying that it helps keep the product in the loop for a long time and move towards a circular economy.

There are about 100 collection centres across Pune, which are kept open for two days during and after the festival. All the collected idols are then sent to the identified artisans for recycling.

The campaign is being run in nine cities of Maharashtra, including Nasik, Thane, Pimpri Chinchwad, and cities in Gujarat, including Ahmedabad and Surat, Bangalore in Karnataka, and Hyderabad in Telangana, with a total of 500 volunteers compiling all the cities and states.

A look at some of the recycled Lord Ganesha idols showcased in one of the exhibitions in Pune. With the help of 22 organisations and volunteer efforts, the team collected up to 23,000 kilograms of clay in 2022, which means 23 tonnes of clay was diverted from entering the water bodies.

The team conducts educational sessions on celebrating eco-friendly festivals in colleges.

They also conduct idol-making workshops in schools to raise awareness about celebrating Indian traditions in an environment-friendly way. The students are engaged in hands-on activities like making recycled clay Ganesha idols.

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