The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and greens advise people not to buy plaster of Paris Ganesh idols as they not only pose environmental concerns, but also serious health hazards in the long run.
Bhargavi S. Rao, trustee, Environmental Support Group (ESG), said that unlike clay, plaster of Paris is not easily dissolvable. “It does not dissolve in water. Worse still, the plaster of Paris-based idols are coated with paint, which contains toxins. This also does not dissolve in water and affects the aquatic system,” she said.
All this, Ms. Rao explained, ultimately affects the water that is used to grow vegetables, and we end up consuming heavy metals in the food we eat. “Although the effects are not seen immediately, the toxins remain in the environment, accumulate in our body and can cause heavy metal poisoning. This process is known as bio-magnification,” she added. Environmental activist Vani Murthy said citizens should be encouraged to consider eco-friendly options that can go back into the soil without affecting the environment.
A press release issued by the KSPCB requested the citizens of Bangalore to buy eco-friendly idols and avoid plaster of Paris. The board will distribute prizes to those who install eco-friendly Ganeshs in the pandals. Participants may submit three pictures of the idol addressed to the KSPCB office, 49, Parisara Bhavan, Church Street, Bangalore 560001.
After receiving the applications, the KSPCB officials will assess idols and finalise the winners.