APPCB holds workshop on need to use eco-friendly material

“When goddess Parvathi used “sunnipindi” for creating a form of Lord Ganesha, why should we use plaster of Paris now? Why should we use a lot of power, plastics, and other non-degradable material for decoration when Lord Vinayaka is most satisfied when He is offered leaves of 21 varieties of trees and plants that have a lot of medicinal value? Even epics and Hindu tenets say the idol could be of a metal or clay and it should be of the size of a palm.”

These are some of the points made by speakers at a workshop for school children on the use of eco-friendly material for Vinayaka Chavithi organised by the AP Pollution Control Board here on Friday.

Professors from Andhra University and GITAM University, teachers from schools, and representatives of voluntary organisations spoke about the need to avoid plaster of Paris, chemical paints, and non-degradable material since they cause damage to the environment and consequently affect the health of people, fish, birds, and animals.

Prasada Rao and S. Ramakrishna Rao, professors from Andhra University, N. Srinivas, professor from GITAM University, a teacher from AU High School, a TDP leader, former teacher Bharanikana Rama Rao, and Hari Venkata Ramana, a cartoonist and member of Dharani Society stressed the need for using only clay idols for the puja and wanted the children to spread the message. Herbal colours must be used for painting the idol.

Prof. Prasada Rao said plaster of Paris idols would take several months to a few years to get dissolved in water and also cause heavy damage to water whereas clay idols would dissolve in a few hours and do not spoil water.

Alternative

Prof. Srinivas recalled the Central Pollution Board's suggestions to segregate a part of a pond or a river for immersion of idols.

A geo-synthetic liner must be placed at the bottom of the segregated area and the debris removed after immersion and buried elsewhere. In case of the sea, the area between the low tide and high tide must be used for immersion.

Mr. Hari said following a campaign launched last year many organisers of the festival promised to use clay idols. Mr. Bharanikana Rama Rao said there was no need to organise the festival at every street causing pollution in all respects.

He would distribute clay idols of Vinayaka, a Vrata Katha book, and a sapling at some places in the city on August 30 and 31. The idol must be immersed in water at home and the muddy water could be used to raise the plant.

APPCB's K.S.A. Krishna, Jagjivan Ram and others organised the programme. An elocution competition was held for schoolchildren.

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