My friend on FB collects the ideas for making eco-friendly Ganpati this year. She gets lots of ideas and narrows it down to making a tiny Ganapati of wheat flour, oil, pulses and food colour.
But she is a young person who cares about her envirnoment.
The Ganesha Festival is still on and the number of days that people worship the idol varies from person to person. There are huge sized Ganpati and some real tiny ones. Love and devotion is what actually counts. On Saturday, being the seventh day, there were Ganpati processions on major streets of Mumbai, all rushing towards the nearest beach.
There will be more immersions on the 11th day which falls this Thursday. Visiting the beach on the next day of immersion is a pathetic sight. You see the beach full un-dissolved idol limbs, polythene bags, flowers, thermocol, plastics, and toxic chemical dyes.
In the early days, idols were made of clay and painted with natural colors. But with rising costs and increasing demand, the manufacturing process has become more commercialized. Manufacturers have been using plaster of Paris and artificial colors in lieu of the biodegradable materials used earlier causing a lot of harm. For instance after the idols are immersed, they’re found washed up all over the beach as Plaster of Paris is insoluble in water. The chemicals in the colors dissolve in the water, making it toxic and killing several aquatic animals. The festival in its present form has not only been harming the environment but also showing disrespect to India’s favorite deity.
The idea of immersion of Ganesh idols in artificial ponds created by BMC
seems to be going down well with devotees. After their initial resistance to the eco-friendly method last year, this year has already seen an overwhelming response.
The civic body, last year, created 25 artificial ponds in the city-one per ward. However, this year, the number was brought down to 17, owing to the relatively poor response last year. "This year, we did not create ponds at those places which saw less than 100 immersions last time. The cost is Rs 3 lakh and we didn't want to waste that much money where there was no adequate response,'' said additional municipal commissioner Madhav Sangle. "But this year, people seem to have woken up to the fact that artificial ponds make a difference and keep the environment clean,'' he added.
Officials said that remains of clay idols immersed in all artificial ponds will not be reused, but handed over to people on request. The tradition in local families is to sprinkle it in their backyard. "Since it is sacred soil, we can’t reuse it in our gardens, but at least we can hand it out for individual use,'' said Sangle.
The idea has even caught the fancy of local citizens' groups. The Khar Residents' Association (KRA), for instance, has created its own pond in the compound of Gazder Bund municipal school in the neighborhood. "Last year, we had only 10 immersions overall. But we didn't lose heart and continued this year as well. On the second day itself, we had 11 immersions. We are hopeful that the number will increase by the end of the festivities,'' said Anandini Thakoor, chairperson H west Ward Association.
Meanwhile, In Thane too, the idea has received an encouraging response. On Monday, the artificial pond at Masunda Lake saw 3,148 idols immersed as against 2,376 last year. In Navi Mumbai which has three artificial ponds, 118 idols have been immersed. However, in Mira-Bhayander, there is not a single such pond as civic officials say the natural ponds are cleaned up the very next day.
I am just hoping and pray that people will spare our beaches and immerse their eco-friendly Ganpati in artificial ponds.
So, What are you planning to do? Can you spread the word so that more people are aware of this??? Thank you!!!
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