These days, the level of environmental awareness is increasing among common people and this is one reason why more and more people are asking for clay idols of Ganesha for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival. In fact, the number of such people is comfortably more than those who are yet to show any such preference. In fact, the use of clay as a raw material for making idols of Ganesha is being promoted widely by various government officials as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). As it is, using chemical colours and Plaster of Paris (PoP) for making Ganesha idols comes with some environmental hazards.
The main emphasis is now on being eco-friendly and this is what has led to the preference for clay over such hazardous materials. In fact, at schools too students are being taught about the importance of clay idols with regards to safeguarding our environment. As a consequence of such spirited and concerted efforts people who were once using chemical colours and PoP to make Ganesha idols are now looking to do so with clay. They are using natural colours for these purposes as well. There has been an increasing demand for these idols and it is expected that they would be able to handle that pretty well with such noble practices.
Steps being taken by various entities
With Ganesh Chaturthi only a few days away, leaders and environmental activists have stepped up their efforts in order to make people understand the importance of choosing eco-friendly idols over the environmentally hazardous ones. A few days back, Ananthkumar, the Union Cabinet Minister for Chemicals, Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, asked people to go for the eco-friendly Ganesha idols. The Member of Parliament (MP) from Bengaluru made this request on his official Twitter account.
He has also shared an article, published by an NGO, which dwells on how Ganesha is a God of nature and how he is a representative of various natural forces. This is perhaps an oblique way of saying that using artificial and harmful substances to make idols would not please this popular deity at all. His tweet was received warmly by the Twitterati. In fact, they also praised him for this initiative. This, however, is not the first time that a minister has made such an effort. In 2016, Narendra Modi, on his Mann Ki Baat programme, had made a similar request to people for using environmental friendly clay idols.
The special place of Bengaluru this year
Mumbai is known in India – and perhaps around the world as well – for its Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations but in 2017 Bengaluru too will occupy a special place in this particular context. Known as Ganesh Habba in Bengaluru, this year Ganesh Chaturthi would be celebrated in an extremely environment-friendly manner in the capital city of Karnataka. As opposed to the normal trend of big and colourful idols being sold en masse before the festival, people are going for the small clay idols this time. This is how the city is making such a difference to the way this festival is celebrated and perhaps starting a new chapter in this regard as well.
How are idols built with PoP and chemical colours damaging the environment and what role can idols built with natural ingredients play in this regard?
One of the major threats posed by the idols built using PoP and chemical colours is that when immersed they cause immense damage to the water body where the immersion is being done. In fact, PoP idols are known to cause cancer as well. In fact, experts are of the opinion that the damage that they cause to the environment cannot be repaired ever.
This is where idols built with clay and other natural ingredients such as flower and leaves, and using natural colours can and play a major role. They are natural ingredients and thus they mingle quite easily with the surrounding environment upon being immersed or even buried. The clay idols are perfect in the sense that they protect the lakes or other water bodies where they are immersed. At the same time you can also grow plants on this clay after the festival gets over. It is the reusable and renewable nature that has made them so popular with people, especially those who care for their environment, around the country. People in Bengaluru are also looking for seed and plant Ganesha idols that can be planted in one’s yard after the festival is over.