Ganesh Chaturthi is a joyous occasion and the celebration are always over the top, just how we all like it. However, while bringing immense joy to the masses, the festival also contributes to a lot to the water pollution, especially in India. After the pompous visarjan processions immerse the idols in the water, the Plastic of Paris (POP) and the toxic paint takes a long time to dissolve and, in the process, harms the environment. But did you know that you can celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi and fight pollution at the same time by just substituting POP with a greener option to make the idol?
A bakery in Ludhiana crafted a 3-feet tall Ganpati idol from 40kg Belgian chocolate. The idea behind the idol was to immerse it in milk and feed the chocolate milk to the underprivileged children. Another Ganesh devotee and baker, Rintu Rathod felt that not only was the idol eco-friendly but was also capable of putting a smile on children’s faces thus it was humanity friendly as well. According to Rintu, the demand for Chocolate Ganpati has increased and she will be making more of them than ever before.
Majority of Ganpati idols are usually harmful to the water body, but using alum, which is easily dissolvable and commonly used for the purification of waste-water, is quite an innovative idea to curb the pollution. The idols are designed with food colors, weigh between 1 to 1.5 kg and are up to 10 inches tall.
Another innovative way of Ganpati-idol making is not only eco-friendly but also contributes to eco-development. A Mumbai resident earned a lot of accolades when he made idols using red soil, organic fertilizer, natural color. The idol, which is available in different sizes, is filled with either neem, ladyfinger or marigold seeds that would eventually sprout when watered.
The brainchild of ecologist Anand Pendharkar of the Sprouts Environmental Trust, a Mumbai-based NGO, a statue made of clay and filled with fish-friendly food including dried corn, spinach, and chickpea powder has managed to keep the environment healthy as well as feed the fishes in the ocean. The idols are also decorated with biodegradable, organic colors such as turmeric, chandan, and gerua. The NGO also conducts workshops to teach people about immersing idols in a bucket of water instead of the ocean.
J Walter Thomopson in association with To Make A Difference, an NGO, has come up with a first of its kind idol which is crafted with activated charcoal (sourced from coconut shells) and pure clay. Both of which have water cleansing effect. When the idol is immersed into a water body, the activated charcoal and clay get to work, leaving the water in a better quality than it was before.
Remember that while the festivities are conducted with great care and concern, we should also be careful with the repercussions of using harmful substances in our environment.