The approaching Ganesh festival and the purchase of lakhs of Plaster of Paris Ganesh idols has charged up environmentally concerned NGOs who came together on Sunday, at Mulund, to create awareness among children and grown ups about a pollution-free Ganesh festival. The Hill Side residents’ welfare

association (HIRWA) and the Samaj Vikas Sangh, along with the municipal corporation, organised an exhibition and a training session to make eco-friendly Ganesh idols and decorations.  

Two other NGOs, Together we initiate a green globe (TWIGG) and, both student initiatives, joined them in the event.

Idols made from Shaadu clay and wood disintegrate faster in water and are bio-degradable.

The POP idols on the other hand take years to degrade and pollute water with chemical paints. The NGOs also suggested that metal Ganesh idols should be kept over the years and symbolic immersion should be performed at home instead of polluting the sea.

Chaitra Yadavar, TWIGG founder member, said: “Nowadays, mandals compete with each other to see who installs the largest idol. The devotional and unifying purpose of the festival is lost. Eco-friendly idols are only about four feet tall. We are trying to change peoples’ mindset and show environmentally sound ways of celebrating the festival.”

There was a workshop conducted by retired mechanical engineer and sculptor, Subhash Gawrikar, to make idols from Shaadu clay. “The process takes 10-12 days and is very easy. It’s a kind of art therapy,” he said.

Prakash Padikkal, president of HIRWA, spoke about the objective of the programme.

“We found a need for environment protection looking at the rate at which the city is deteriorating. The Ganesh festival is one of the most popular festivals in the state, which causes environmental damage. We wish to encourage citizens to be involved and give back to society, so that change can happen.”

Source: Hindustan Times