Eco-friendly Ganpati

Ganesh Chaturthi. The event that marks of the re-birth of Lord Ganesha, it signifies new and auspicious beginnings. This 10 day long celebration is enjoyed all over the country, but nowhere with more fervor than in Maharashtra. Local authorities claim installation of almost 2 lakh Ganesh idols in communities and homes.
Lalbaugcha Raja (elephant headed god) going for immersion in to the sea at Girgaum Chowpatty during  Ganesha Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
But for a festival that marks such beauty in though and spirit, the Ganesh Idols themselves are causing major harm to the environment. The end of Ganesh Utsav is marked by the immersion of the Ganesh Idol in waters – signifying Ganesh’s return to the Heavens amongst other Gods. But what happens is that the Idols, that are usually made from Plaster of Paris end up polluting the environment because they do not disintegrate easily and the paints used on the idols have cancer causing chemicals in them.
But going back to tradition and understand the spirit of the festival, and not just blindly installing the biggest and most decorated Ganesh Idol. As per scriptures, small clay idols were immersed in water. So here are some ways you can make your Ganpati eco-friendly.
All over the city now, you find eco-friendly Ganesh Idols that are made with clay. These are either unpainted or use colors obtained from natural dyes.
Use the artificial ponds created by the civic authorities to immerse an Idol. This helps save the flora and fauna of natural water bodies and helps curb pollution.
Mumbai’s pollution control board has directed the mandals to remove flowers, clothes and decorations from their Ganpati Idols before immersing it in water. If you bring home your own Ganpati, you should do that as well.
Though it is considered auspicious to bring a Ganpati Idol home, isn’t this festival truly about community and the greater good?Why not have a Community Ganpati that everyone can worship and celebrate, and not do individual Ganpatis!
So mark this year’s celebration with a new beginning in your festivities as well. Take care of your environment and God will bless you with abundance and happiness all year round!

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