This year, pray that PoP idols don’t leave ugly scars

Some citizens are teaching students to make clay idols with a seed inside. They can be immersed in a pot and after immersion, it will give birth to a plant.

Some citizens are teaching students to make clay idols with a seed inside. They can be immersed in a pot and after immersion, it will give birth to a plant.   | Photo Credit: V Sreenivasa Murthy

KSPCB says civic bodies are not sincere on enforcing ban

As people gear up to welcome Lord Ganesh in to their homes this Friday, the city is faced with a major concern yet again: water pollution owing to immersion of idols that are not environment-friendly.

Despite a total ban on plaster of Paris (PoP) idols by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) following a direction from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), PoP figurines have already made it to the city and are being sold on J.C. Road, in Malleswaram and other areas.

The KSPCB had first banned PoP idols and their immersion in waterbodies in 2014. The ban was reintroduced in 2016, but stating a delay in communication, idol makers approached KSPCB with a plea to permit sale of idols that had already been manufactured. The KSPCB temporarily relaxed the ban on the condition that the idols be scientifically disposed. It reiterated that a complete ban would come into effect this year.

Lakshman, chairman, KSPCB, told The Hindu, “The board had directed the BBMP and other municipal corporations to ensure that the ban is followed in letter and spirit. It is their responsibility to ensure enforcement by conducting raids and inspections. But this was not done. If the direction is not followed, KSPCB will take appropriate action against the bodies.”

Stating that the authorities concerned have not done much to enforce the ban, N.S. Ramakanth, member, Solid Waste Management Expert Committee, BBMP, said, “The KSPCB has conducted half a dozen meetings in this regard, but has not been able to achieve anything. As citizen representatives, we recommended placing boards at waterbodies stating that immersion of PoP idols will not be allowed. Except near Yediyur lake, this has not been done anywhere else. With PoP idols already making it to the markets, we foresee lake pollution this year as well.”

An eco-friendly message

Around 150 civic leaders trained by Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC) have been conducting awareness programmes in their respective neighbourhoods. “Apart from this, we are conducting ‘make your own clay Ganesh’ workshops in 20 wards. We have already covered 11 wards, including B.T.M. Layout, Koramangala, Shanthinagar, K.R. Puram, and made around 2,500 clay idols. In the next two days, we will be covering the remaining wards,” said Sushma Mahabala, programme head, B.PAC, which has roped in artists from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad to conduct the workshop.

From Ganesh to a plant

A Ganesh that grows into a plant remains a popular eco-friendly innovation. Sasya Ganapathi, a company started by four friends this year, has created and sold 1,000 such Ganeshs.

“Ganesh Chathurti is something that most people celebrate. We thought we could spread a green message through the festival. Thus was born Sasya Ganapathi,” says co-founder Bharath Srinivas.

The kit includes a 1 ft clay Ganesh idol, which is filled with fertiliser and a potting mix. Pot and seeds are provided separately.

“After the festival, people can immerse the idol in the pot. When it dissolves, the fertiliser mixes with the soil, following which seeds can be added. We offer tulsi, ladies’ finger and tomato seeds,” said Mr. Srinivas. A year of experimenting preceded the launch of the product.

Another start-up – GrowShareSustain – has come out with a similar concept where a clay Ganesh idol is a seed ball. After the festival, the idol can be immersed in a container. As the idol dissolves, the seed balls merge into the clay and soil. With enough sunlight and water, saplings will sprout within a week.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 4:30:53 PM |

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