New Delhi: Ganesh Chaturthi, the 11-day festival celebrations have begun in full swing, devotees across India welcomed their Ganapati Bappa on September 1 with a bang. Social media is abuzz with festive greetings and pictures from celebrations, many Bollywood stars too have come forward and shared their celebrations with the netizens, and this time, there seems to be a greater focus across India to give the festivities a green tinge.
Keeping the tradition alive, actor Riteish Deshmukh who’s known for his DIY videos on Twitter, decided to show the world how to make an eco-friendly Ganpati idol from scratch at home. The 39-year-old actor made a Ganpati idol from clay and shared a message on his social media. He said, “I made the Ganesha idol at home out of Mud-clay. I want to be responsible towards my environment, hope we can leave a better-cleaner planet for our children. They learn from what they see. Wishing you all happiness & prosperity.”
I made the Ganesha idol at home out of Mud-clay. I want to be responsible towards my environment,hope we can leave a better-cleaner planet for our children. They learn from what they see. wishing you all happiness & prosperity #HappyGaneshChaturthi #ecofriendly #GanpatiBappaMorya pic.twitter.com/qhWBsXdvw1
— Riteish Deshmukh (@Riteishd) September 2, 2019
Actor Dia Mirza shared the horror story of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris (POP), plastic and cement and said,
Ganpati Bappa Morya! Traditionally we made clay idols and then immersed them in water to denote the birth cycle of Lord Ganesha/Ganpati who was created from clay/earth. Visarjan in its own way talks about nature’s life cycle and while it should be one of the most eco-friendly events in India, it has become something else all together.
She further added,
Clay handmade Idols have been replaced with Plaster of Paris and Plastic. Natural brown colour of clay is replaced by toxic paints to make idols shiny and sparkly. Size plays a big role in asserting importance or prestige of the celebration. “Mine is bigger than yours syndrome!” And then there are those awful unnatural plastic/thermocole decorations! All this is immersed in our seas/rivers/ponds/lakes without any concern about the consequences. The consequences are dangerous, a complete contamination of our waters, soil and food chain. Surely Ganpati Bappa would never want to be responsible for harming what he was born from? This Ganpati Visarjan, take this as an opportunity to understand the meaning of a birth cycle, go minimal, natural and sustainable
44-year-old actress Shilpa Shetty too gave her social media family the glimpses of her eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. The actor talked about her sense of responsibility towards “Mother Earth” and said,
My Gannu Raja is back. The remover of obstacles and Lord of success… May he bestow us all with his blessings, this Ganesh Chaturthi. I’m spiritual and celebrate all festivals but I’m also responsible towards Mother Earth and we have continued our tradition of having an eco-friendly Ganesha idol.Ganpati Bappa Morya.
Actor Vivek Oberoi too shared his eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and said,
My favourite time of the year! Welcoming Ganpati Bappa home! May Bappa shower his blessings on each one of us. Wish you all a very happy and eco-friendly #GaneshChaturthi! Let’s all do our bit for protecting our environment. Go green and say no to plastic! Ganpati Bappa Morya
My favourite time of the year! Welcoming Ganpati Bappa home! May Bappa shower his blessings on each one of us. Wish you all a very happy & eco friendly #GaneshChaturthi!
Let’s all do our bit for protecting our environment. Go green and say no to plastic!
Ganpati Bappa Morya???? pic.twitter.com/mR2S0db0Q4
— Vivek Anand Oberoi (@vivekoberoi) September 2, 2019
Apart from celebs, many artisans and pandals across India have gone eco-friendly. In Karnataka’s Bengaluru, instead of opting for a traditional plaster of paris Ganpati idol, the artisans made Lord Ganesha 30 feet Idol using over 9,000 coconuts.
— ANI (@ANI) September 1, 2019
The Ganpati idol has been installed near the Puttengally Ganesha Temple in the city and has been made by 70 devotees who have been working on it for the past 20 days.
News agency ANI, quoted a devotee, Mohan Raju, saying that it is an annual practice in the temple to install idol of Lord Ganesha, which is eco-friendly and from the items that can be used again. Last year the Ganpati idol was fashioned out of sugarcane. Not just that, Ganesh idol will be removed after 5 days and all coconuts and vegetables installed to make the idol will be distributed amoung the devotees.
In Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna District idol of Lord Ganesha has been made of sugarcane in Ganesh Mandal in Nandigama town. The 10-member team handcrafted the statue utilising sugarcane and made the idol in five days.
— ANI (@ANI) September 2, 2019
In Chennai, seed-infused clay idols make a green change in Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. The Tamil Nadu Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops have introduced these clay idols in the city that contains vegetable seeds and are placed in flower pots. Upon coming in contact with water, they dissolved in the pot and will germinate in a few weeks. The department made about 3,000 such idols for the festival this year.
How Idol Immersion Adversely Impacts The Environment
Traditional Ganesh idols that are made using Plaster of Paris contains calcium sulfate hemihydrate, a substance that takes several years to fully dissolve in water. Meaning, once you immerse the idol in the water, it doesn’t dissolve and continue to float in water for 100 of years and pollute the water body further.
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.