New Delhi: Few festivals in India match the gaiety and fervor of Ganesh Chaturthi. And neither can many festivals leave behind a trail of trash, after it is over. The Ganpati idols, which are usually made using POP (Plaster of Paris) and decorated with paints and heavy accessories when immersed in water takes several of years to fully dissolve in the water, as a result, the Ganesha idol remains floating in the water for years.
But now over the years, some idol makers are adopting the go-green mantra when it comes to their creations. In Hyderabad, an idol maker is using cow dung to make Lord Ganesha idols. Explaining the benefits of using cow dung as the material, Sudarshan Singh, the artisan told ANI,
From last few years, green Ganpati idols demands have started coming for more and more. Recently, we discovered that idols can be made naturally using cow dung. So, from this year, we thought we will bring in a green change. Making idols from cow dung is very simple and it takes very less time as compared to the traditional PoP idols. Moreover, if these idols are immersed in the water, it doesn’t harm the water body, in fact, helps in purifying it, as cow dung contains oxygen.
Also Read: Do It Yourself: How To Make Eco-Friendly Ganesh Idols At Home
This time, Hyderabad is aiming to make 10 lakh eco-friendly Ganesh idols using cow-dung, according to the Member of Telangana Legislative Assembly, Raja Singh who has been promoting the use of green Ganpati idols, this year.
On the other hand, the city of Nashik in Maharashtra is raising the bar a bit differently. Here eco-friendly Ganpati idols are not being prepared by the idol makers but inmates of Nashik Central Jail. According to the officials, this rehabilitation programme for the inmates that was started in 2017 has now turned into a small industry in itself, with the number of orders increasing every year. Last year, Rs 13 lakh was earned through the sale of 1,400 eco-friendly Ganesh idols. This time, the inmates started crafting the green idols for September in December 2018 itself and since then have already made 800 idols using natural clay.
Bengaluru’s Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has set its eyes on the student community. The civic body will be holding various workshops wherein students from all schools will be encouraged to make green alternatives to Plaster of Paris Ganesh idols.
Also Read: Ganpati Goes Green: Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi The Eco-Friendly Way
What Makes Ganesh Idols Made From Plaster Of Paris Bad For The Environment
Plaster of Paris contains calcium sulfate hemihydrate, a substance that takes several years to fully dissolve in water. Moreover, idols made using PoP reduce oxygen levels in the water and can kill the fishes and other aquatic animals. The end result is a huge amount of water pollution which then gets mixed with other types of waste, thereby poisoning water sources for several and several years.
Apart from being made from Plaster of Paris, Ganesh Idols are often decorated with toxic paints and accessories which contain heavy metals such as lead and mercury that seep into the water with the idol immersion and adds to the acidic level of water which further risks marine life, and pollute the overall environment.
Also Read: Ganesh Chaturthi Special: How Idol Immersion Adversely Impacts The Environment
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.