Ganesh Chaturthi is just around the corner and devotees across the world are excitedly purchasing Ganesh idols. Now as we all know, these idols are originally made of P.O.P. (Plaster of Paris), which has magnesium, gypsum, phosphorus and sulphur in it and they clearly make the material non-biodegradable. Not only that, they are also coated with oil paints, glitters, plastic jewelry or decorations quite a lot of the times. As these idols end up being immersed into the water bodies as per the rituals, all the above-mentioned materials harm the marine life tremendously. With the awareness of this, many families, people and organizations opted to buy or make eco-friendly Ganpati idols for the festival and not the ones made with the P.O.P.
Many of them forget to avoid adding toxic colors, plastic or any kind of glittery decorations to their core eco-friendly idols. The dyes that are commonly used to paint these idols contain mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead and carbon. Such high amounts of metal and chemicals can kill the life in the water bodies. There is a phenomenon called as ‘dead water body’, where the water body cannot harbor any life form, and it is caused by usage of such little decorative things which we do not imagine to lead to a big phenomenon like that. Even human beings can be contaminated as this could lead heavy metal poisoning caused due to consumption of fish contaminated with these metals, by ruining our nervous, circulatory and digestive systems.
Coming to the conclusion, eco-friendly Ganesh idols, especially those made purely with mud and kept like that are the ones which are preferred over any other way. Upon searching, we stumbled on some of the marvelous ideas people have adopted within the eco-friendly festival practice.
According to an article by Huffpost, “Mumbai artist Dattadri Kothur creates eco-friendly Ganpati idols that are made from red soil and fertilizers, and contain plant seeds. At the end of the 10-day festival, the idols undergo a symbolic immersion. Instead of being immersed in a water body, the idol is placed in an accompanying pot and watered until it dissolves. Thanks to the ladyfinger or tulsi seeds that are sown in the pot, the idol grows back as a plant.” Now this is something that we call a fruitful and “blessed” reap.
They have further added another great spectacle, “For the second year in a row, a Mumbai-based NGO, Sprouts Environmental Trust is making idols that fish can eat! The brainchild ecologist Anand Pendharkar of the Sprouts Environmental Trust had said that the statues are made with clay and stuffed with fish-friendly food such as corn, spinach, wheat and vegetable powder. The team has also reduced the size of idols and decorated them with biodegradable, organic colors such as turmeric, Chandan and gerua.”
We have no words for these manifestations of ecological intelligence which human beings do have but using it requires certain awareness to spread. As deep down, the culture does celebrate Lord Ganesh beautifully every year, let’s not forget that his mother is believed to be the Goddess Parvati, who is herself believed as the source of nature.