Kerala

Call to celebrate Ganeshotsav in eco-friendly manner

The Friends of Bharathapuzha (FoB), a voluntary organisation that works for the conservation of the Bharathapuzha under the leadership of technocrat E. Sreedharan, has made a fervent call to the public to celebrate the upcoming Ganeshotsav in an eco-friendly manner.

Raising concerns at the increasing level of pollution being caused by the immersion of Ganesha idols in water bodies during the annual festival, the organisation suggested that people celebrate a “green Ganeshotsav”. This year’s festival is falling on August 31, and people have already started preparations for the same.

“Immersion of idols made of plaster of Paris and smeared with synthetic paints is a major cause of concern as drinking water sources are being polluted with heavy metals such as lead, mercury and chrome. This is where we should have a serious rethink,” said V.L. Natarajan, joint coordinator of the organisation.

The organisation pointed out that once an eco-friendly format of celebration came into being, it could be followed in the coming years. “Therefore, we are appealing not only to the people to go green in their celebrations, but also to the authorities concerned to bring about some restrictions on the uncontrolled immersion of idols,” said Mr. Natarajan.

Idols of different sizes are usually taken in procession and immersed in water bodies such as rivers, canals, ponds and lakes with religious fervor. Several tributaries of the Bharathapuzha, including the Kalpathy river, witnessed the immersion every year, and the number of idols being immersed was on the rise.

“The Bharathapuzha is a main source of drinking water for many panchayats and municipalities in Palakkad and Malappuram districts. The toxic elements that the plaster of Paris idols carry can affect our nervous and digestive systems even at low dosage,” said Mr. Natarajan.

The organisation suggested an alternative that Ganesh idols be made of natural clay or paper pulp to limit the spread of pollution. It suggested that immersion of idols be done in artificial tanks created for the purpose in respective localities. It further suggested that biodegradable decorations such as paper, paper mache and wood be used instead of non-biodegradable materials.

“We can reduce the pollution considerably by resorting to natural colours such as turmeric, multani mitti, and red oxide instead of going for the usual synthetic colours,” said Mr. Natarajan.

The organisation asked people to collect the offerings of flowers and other organic materials in a compost pit as part of raising people’s awareness. According to Mr. Natarajan, if people are told well in advance about the importance of avoiding polluting materials, they can plan well for a green Ganesha festival. “People order for large size idols well in advance. Let them have a rethink about it, and celebrate the festival more responsibly,” he said.


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Printable version | Aug 1, 2022 3:58:23 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/call-to-celebrate-ganeshotsav-in-eco-friendly-manner/article65583009.ece