Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India SCFI
Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi on 25th August 2017

Eco Friendly Ganesha Idols

Every year thousands of idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in lakes, ponds, and rivers while following the ritual of Visarjan during Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Most of these idols are made of Plaster of Paris and other non-biodegradable materials which is disturbing for the ecological system. Toxic paints and other poisonous chemicals from these idols pollute the water and prove to be very harmful for human beings and aquatic life. As a result, many states in India have decided to create eco-friendly Ganesha idols out of decomposable natural products like coconut, turmeric, grass, unbaked clay, papier mache, salt dough and the likes.

Measures Taken To Promote the Ecological Balance of Nature

There are many organizations and NGOs who are raising the awareness of eco-friendly Ganesha idols across the country. These idols are made of decomposable, eco-friendly materials such as gum, chalk powder and papier mache. Natural paint and gums are used so that the ecological balance of nature is not rummaged by the immersion of these idols. Aniruddha Upasana Trust, a follower of Sadguru Shree Aniruddha Bapu, is one such organization which makes nature friendly Ganesh idols out of recycled paper, chalk powder, wood, gum etc. These idols get completely dissolved in water causing no harm to the water quality thereby having no hazardous effects on the environment. Many states in India have banned the creation of Ganesh idols from Plaster of Paris which is a very harmful material and damages aquatic life. The first state to ban Plaster of Paris idols in 2004 was Tamil Nadu. The state was followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra in 2011 and Goa in 2013 respectively.

Various Eco-friendly Materials Used for Making Idols
  • Shadu: This is a type of clay found especially in the state of Maharashtra, in the Konkan region. These idols are made in Maharashtra for centuries and do not contribute to water pollution, being entirely composed of natural clay. These Shadu idols dissolve in water at a rapid rate causing no harm to aquatic environment.
  • Papier Mache: These eco-friendly Ganesha idols are created by crushing paper. Through specific procedures, hardiness, rigidity and shape are imparted to these paper idols. White ink powder is then used for obtaining desired textures. These idols are very light in weight and do not release toxins into the eco-system.
  • Metals:Metals such as bronze, white metal (German silver) or panchdhatu (alloy of five metals) are commonly used in crafting Ganesh idols nowadays as they do not need to be immersed, do not possess poisonous chemicals, do not require re-painting and do not add to water pollution./li>
  • Edible Materials: Many eatables or edible materials are nowadays used for making Ganesh idols for promoting a healthy natural environment. Chocolate, raw vegetables, turmeric, gems, water melon and wheat flour are some of the products employed to make eco-friendly Ganesh idols.

The rise of water pollution in recent times has become alarming and both non-governmental and governmental organizations are making strenuous efforts to spread awareness of the detrimental effects of Plaster of Paris idols. As a result eco-friendly Ganesh idols are gaining in popularity and becoming increasingly common in many parts of India.

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