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Updated: September 6, 2010 16:20 IST

Get yourself a green Ganesha

PADMINI B. PATELL
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Friend of the environment: A clay Ganesh. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu
The Hindu Friend of the environment: A clay Ganesh. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

Is your Ganesh Chathurti going to an eco friendly one?

A big, coloured plaster of Paris Ganesh idol verses a small, natural clay one, what will it be this Ganesh Chathurti?

With every passing year eco friendly Ganeshas are gaining popularity and rightly so, with serious environmental repercussions on the rise.

By and large Ganesh idols are made of plaster of Paris (POP)and coloured with paints containing artificial dyes. A large amount of plastic decorations, plates and glasses are used over the ten day festivities.

Don't POP

Why should we change this practice? Simply because of the evident damage caused to the environment.

First POP is an insoluble material and sinks to the bottom of the water body in which the idol is immersed along with metal, scrap, cloth and plastics.

All these form a layer obstructing water from seeping into the ground thus reducing the ground water level.

Year after year this accumulation reduces the capacity of the water bodies.

Clearing this garbage is time consuming and expensive. The colours used on the idols are toxic, laden with lead and often contain carcinogens or cancer causing chemicals. In the name of festivities we pollute water bodies, contribute to noise pollution and cause traffic jams while transporting huge idols.

Can we not settle for smaller natural idols and come together and have common celebrations thereby reducing the number of idols as well?

Many families opt for immersing small idols in a bucket of water and using this water for plants. “ As we are taught in school about protecting the environment we are keen to implement this by keeping only an eco friendly Ganesh idol in our apartment complex,” says Namrata aged 14, a resident of Uma Nagar's Pinnacle Towers.

The Society for Awareness and Vision on Environment - S.A.V.E. works towards preserving trees, lakes and promotes a green environment.

Well known for translocation of trees S.A.V.E. Founder Vijay Ram says,“ We have been distributing clay Ganeshas for the last six years as part of our Sujalaam programme. This year we have employed artisans from Kolkata to make 25000 clay idols for free distribution in the twin cities. HMDA has also tied up with us on this project and will be distributing another 25000 idols at minimum cost. S.A.V.E. is accepting bookings for four and a half feet Ganeshas and providing competition details for Ganesh Mantap Associations. They will also be holding a live demonstration of clay idol making.

Here's your opportunity to do your bit for the environment by going green this Ganesh Chathurti For details contact S.A.V.E. on 9848444950/9849360262.

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