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The state government has banned use of plaster of Paris (PoP) to make idols of deities and immersion of such idols in public water bodies due to the pollution it causes, which is a hazard to marine life.

However, there are people who, motivated by concern for the environment, are opting for eco-friendly clay idols for worship of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Dashama.

Although clay idols costs nearly three times more than idols made of PoP, a dozen individuals and organisations have placed orders with idol maker Manglesh in Amraiwadi area.

Shri Shakti Yuvak Mandal, a group of ten people organising Ganeshotsav in Maninagar for four years, have been using eco-friendly idols for three years. “When we came to know about the environmental hazards of PoP, we started ordering eco-friendly idols,” said Mitesh Thakkar, one of the volunteers of the group.

He said while they used to get PoP idols for around Rs3,000, they pay Rs9,000 for eco-friendly idols.”We have been organising Ganeshotsav for 31 years. Earlier, we used to buy Ganesh idols made of PoP, but for last eight years we have opted for clay idols,” said Summit Yadav of Rajasthan Mitra Mandal of Choksi ni Chali in Rakhial.

Yadav and his friends switched to clay idols as Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation fishes out the idols from Kankaria lake and dumps them as garbage. “The idol that we worship as the Lord for 10 days is treated like garbage. This is an insult to the deity and our feelings. So we decided to go for eco-friendly idols that melt in the water completely,” explained Yadav.

In another case, elders guided the young generation to use only clay idols of Lord Ganesh. People of Patel Parmanand ni Chali in Rakhial area have been celebrating Ganeshotsav for 52 years and have used eco-friendly idols on all occasions except for a couple of years.

“Our ancestors used to bring clay idols of Lord Ganesh from Mumbai as nobody was making clay idols in Ahmedabad. However, once we bought a PoP idol which displeased the elders as their religious sentiments were hurt,” said Sunny Shrivastava of Patel Parmanand ni Chali.

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