Mumbai: One of the tallest and most famous Ganpati idols in India, Lalbaugcha Raja is believed to fulfill everyone’s wishes. Situated in a narrow lane of Lalbaug market in Mumbai, the 22-feet deity is visited by over a million people during the ten days of the festival. With so many people visiting the pandal daily, every year it has a theme and decorations and props are accordingly used. To spread the message of plastic pollution, Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal has kept a ‘No Plastic’ theme in lines with saving the environment this year.
The materials used to decorate the place has been from paper and clay and once discarded, it will decompose immediately unlike plastic which takes years to biodegrade.
Talking to NDTV about the need to spread awareness about plastic items that choke our environment, renowned Art Director Nitin Desai says,
Using thermocol and plastic for decorating the Ganpati idols and pandals has become a norm all over India and since the last 16 years my team has been following the norm. After reading about global warming due to plastic pollution, we decided to have an environment-friendly theme this year that would discourage plastic usage. All our decoration materials are made from papier mache, which is predominantly a mixture of paper and clay.
The process of designing and executing the mega theme started nine months ago. The team started experimenting in Karjat, a few kilometres away from Mumbai, with the material to check the durability and the strength. After conducting several trials, the team finally reached Mumbai last month to start the project in Lalbaug pandal. In addition to this, the team has also used virtual reality to showcase the animals, trees, waterfall and other elements related to nature.
Thousands of people across India come together every year to mark the auspicious occasion by bringing home Ganapati idols. However, with the gigantic idols comes the high risks of water and plastic pollution. As idols are made from Plaster of Paris, they take years to decompose thus making our water contaminated during the immersion process. Besides, the decoration materials like flowers, jewellery, etc used is also dumped into the seas. While it may take years to avert the damage done, people in India are increasingly becoming aware of the need to celebrate the occasion without harming the environment. From idols that are made from clay, recycled paper, multani matti to people opting for eco-friendly decoration materials, the journey of a Green Ganpati has begun.
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.