The ten-day long spectacular glorification of Lord Ganesha finally ended with much pomp and gaiety amongst the worshippers! Mumbai was seen to be the loudest as the idols of Ganesha were immersed in water, bidding adieu to the Hindu God this year. More noise, more zest, more crowd; the iconic celebrations of Lord Ganesha saw greater participation from the worshippers as compared to the last year.
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of most magnificent festivals celebrated with stupendous zeal and grandeur in the western part of the country. Lakhs and lakhs of Ganesh idols are immersed in the sea as a religious ritual which makes millions of devotees dance together in prosperity.
Idols damaging environment
In the ardour and splendour of celebrating this iconic festival, most people conveniently forget the hazardous impact the immersion of idols has on the environment. The grandeur of this festival might be irresistible, but the damage it inflicts on us is irreparable! A large section of society is unaware of the pollution these chemical-made idols bring to the sea water. Ganesha idols are made using highly corrupt materials like Plaster of Paris and other chemical paints which contain good amounts of mercury and lead. It takes several months for these idols to completely dissolve in the water while they continue to poison the water bodies in contact.
Polluted sea water is not only injurious for the environment, but also for the living beings! It slowly kills the aquatic plants and the marine life in the first place, thereby, disturbing the flow of ecosystem. At some places the same water is pumped to the homes for drinking purposes. Since these idols do not dissolve easily, they get accumulated as waste in the sea. Every year, the government digs out tonnes of garbage from the water bodies to clean the waters. Not only the idols, but the other accessories used during Ganesh Chaturthi are also dumped into the sea, adding to the level of pollution in the water.
Creating awareness among people
Several measures have been taken by the government to bring awareness amongst the people and to minimise the hazardous impact. A lot of campaigns and advertisements were specially designed for people to understand the value of our environment.
Eco-friendly Ganesh idols were also introduced in the markets. But despite of all the endeavours the government makes to protect the surroundings, a large majority of people continue to be ignorant about this issue. Not only are the people using the POP idols relentlessly but even the number has increased all the more! The efforts of the government and other social bodies working for this cause are unfortunately going in vain.
People have totally blindfolded themselves in the name of religion. They are blatantly ignoring their accountability towards nature to accomplish their own spiritual motives. Only if they could realize that it is not possible to please the God by damaging his universe. Rituals and customs are not the commands of God but only man-made principles. It is not an undeniable order to follow them blindly. Besides, there are a number of ways in which the rituals can be performed without damaging the environment.