Indians celebrate every occasion with exceptional pomp, and glamour and Ganesh Chaturthi is no different. Celebrated to honor Lord Ganesha, Ganesh Chaturthi is the festival that celebrates Lord Ganesha's birth.
However, each year the celebrations come at the cost of the environment. People get so carried away while celebrating that they look over the long-term damage that they are doing to the environment. Every year the air and water quality gets compromised after the celebrations. A little alteration in the celebrations can go a long way.
Generally, Ganpati Idols are made of Plaster of Paris and artificial colours. These are non-biodegradable in nature, and when they come in contact with water, choke the water bodies, and have negative impacts on the aquatic ecosystem. Moreover, these idols are coloured with artificial colours with a high amount of lead and mercury, which destroys the plants and creatures living in the water and deems the water unfit to be used by human beings in the future.
As opposed to this, Eco friendly Ganesh idols are made out of organic mud, soil, and natural colors used while painting it. Moreover, being made of clay, it easily disintegrates in water without destroying flora and fauna.
Reasons to go for eco-friendly Ganpati Idols this Ganesh Chaturthi:
Protects Human Health: An idol made out of Plaster of Paris will damage the aquatic life and pose a direct threat to human health. Many people use the water of the same waterbodies in which these idols are immersed. If the contaminated water comes in contact with people, it can cause food poisoning and other health ailments. For non-vegetarians, they are consuming fish or other edible aquatic creatures after the occasion is extremely harmful since the creatures probably would have swallowed harmful elements by mistake. If people eat the same, they would also get affected by harmful elements, and that could be extremely dangerous and poisoning.
Eco-friendly Ganpati idols, on the contrary, disintegrates in water, and the soil settles down underwater, thus posing no threat to the human or aquatic life.
Prevention of Allergies: The idols made of Plaster of Paris often contain several harmful chemicals that are used to make the idols look glitterier so that it appeals to the eye. However, these same chemicals may cause skin irritations or allergic reactions if it comes in contact with human skin.
Eco-friendly Ganesha idols, however, do not use any such harmful chemicals and are skin-friendly too.
Easy to Make: You depend upon a sculptor to make you an idol of Plaster of Paris. However, clay idols can be made at home. They are made with easily available ingredients, and with a little help from a family member, you can easily create a Ganpati Idol of your own.
Saves Water Resources: After the festival is over, the idols are immersed in water. The idols made of Plaster of Paris contaminates the water and kills aquatic life. Whereas, eco-friendly Ganesha idols are bio-degradable and would not hurt the aquatic life. Moreover, these idols are generally smaller in size as opposed to the ones made out of Plaster of Paris and can easily be immersed in an artificial immersion tank to avoid contaminating water bodies. It not only saves water resources but also prevents water pollution.
Plantable Ganesha Idols: Some of the clay Ganesha idol makers are taking another step toward bettering the environment. They put a plant seed inside the idols. So, after the occasion, when you immerse the idol in your artificial immersion tank, you can obtain the seed and plant it in your garden. This way, the idol makers are making sure that more good comes out of the celebration by ensuring that all the people who worship their idols could end up planting a plant each at the end of the festival.
Other measures that you should take to have a completely eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi:
Avoid Firecrackers: Firecrackers are used during the occasion and while the process of immersion takes place too. It not only degrades the air quality but also contribute to noise pollution. It is extremely harmful to breathe in the air after burnt firecrackers have polluted it. It causes serious health issues for people who have asthma or other breathing issues. Animals are also extremely scared of firecrackers and it gives them mental trauma. Moreover, animals on the street might get injured by them and accidents might take place. Hence it is best to avoid firecrackers.
Promotion of Noise Pollution: It is advised not to blare music at the highest sound level at pandals. Instead, instruments that provide mellow music and are soothing to hear can be used in their place.
Artificial Immersion Tank: Immersing idols in ponds and public water bodies can be harmful as the same water is used for drinking or in many places which is extremely harmful. Instead, using an artificial immersion tank just to immerse idols will minimize water contamination.
Refrain from Using Plastic: Cut down the use of plastic by carrying your bag while going to shop for the festival. Further, avoid using plastic cups and plates for prasad distribution. Use paper or clay plates and glasses instead.
Ganesh Chaturthi is around the corner and it is important to keep in mind the above-mentioned points while celebrating it. We need to understand the importance of an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi and educate the others around you too. Make sure you or the others around you don't contribute to environmental degradation while celebrating. To avoid being cheated by an idol seller, make sure to remember that idols made of clay in an eco-friendly way will be heavier than those made of Plaster of Paris. This way, you can differentiate between the two and at the same time practice environmental awareness. Take a pledge to celebrate a completely eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi this year onwards and help in bettering the environment.