After holi, diwali and many other festivals it is now time to put a conscious effort in celebrating this festival with a little more awareness.
Bangalore has lost a lot if it lakes to various reasons – don’t let this be one!
Let the debate for/against IDOLATORY be at rest for a while and see to it that smaller idols can be used in a way mother nature is not displeased… 🙂
A campaign to make the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi environmentally sensitive and non polluting…
Environmental Impact of Ganesh Chaturthi
This festival, brings together thousands of people but in modern times is also contributing to serious environmental pollution. Besides the noise created by the several Ganesh mandals during the festival, the immersion of idols made out of chemical materials causes significant water pollution. The traditional mud idols have been replaced by plaster of paris statues which are then painted using toxic chemical dyes to make them bright and attractive to buyers. These materials poison water bodies, by increasing chemical and organic content. In the process, ecosystems in these water bodies gate harmed and plant and fish species die in large numbers. Water that has been polluted in this way can cause diseases when drunk by people living downstream.
The materials used to make some Ganesh idols may be toxic!
Plaster of paris contains gypsum, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium
Chemical paints contain mercury, cadmium, lead and carbon
Immersion of these can poison the waters of lakes, rivers and the sea by
increasing solid matter
increasing organic matter
increasing content of heavy metals
Such pollution damages the ecosystem by
Killing the fishes
Damaging the plants
Blocking the natural flow of the water and causing stagnation
And damages health by polluting drinking water sources causing
Use permanent idols made of brass or stone
Do a symbolic immersion
Reuse the same idol again the next year
Use a small unpainted idol made of unbaked clay if you immerse the idol
Immerse the idol in a tub or a water tank
Collect the flowers and nirmalya and compost them
Avoid the use of thermocole and plastic in decorations
Several groups are now developing ecosensitive Ganesh idols that do not pollute. Amongst the materials that people are experimenting with there are idols made out of recycled waste paper, natural clay and other natural fibres.
In 2006 Kalpavriksh developed natural clay idols along with the disabled children of ASHA school. Read more about the idols here.
As part of the Safe Festival Campaign, Kalpavriksh has created posters in English and Marathi. These posters were distributed by the Center for Environment Education to schools and colleges in Pune and are also being distributed by the Pune Municipal Corporation.
Some more insight about the way the festival is “currently” celebrated:
http://www.hindujagruti.org/hinduism/festivals/ganesh/evils.php // The videos are no longer present