Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival celebrated to mark the birth of the elephant- headed God, Lord Ganesha. Every year people bring an idol of Lord Ganesha into their homes or communities. The idol is worshipped everyday with aarti and modaks, and stays in the house for either 3, 7 or 10 days. On the last day, the idol is immersed. This is where the actual problem arises.
Most of the idols are made with Plaster of Paris and pandals are decorated with plastic and thermacol. All these materials cause a significant amount of water pollution. A large amount of idols are immersed at sea, proving harmful to the water bodies, as well as the species living in them.
Vizagites soon responded to the call of help from nature and took necessary steps to save the environment. They realized that a festival of positivity shouldn’t be the cause of pain for the environment.
The district administration has banned the immersion of Ganesha idols at RK Beach from Coastal Battery to Park Hotel junction, not due to the environmental issues though. They banned the immersion in these places in view of the BRICS Summit to be held from September 14 – 16.
To celebrate an eco friendly Ganesha Chaturthi, use clay idols rather than POP idols, use natural colours for making rangoli and avoid using plastic to decorate the pandals. You can make an idol yourself by just using the mud in your garden! Here are the steps:
Use natural clay or plain mud from your garden. Sift the mud to remove stones, grass and dried leaves. Mix just enough water and knead the mix to make smooth dough, it should be stiff and be able to retain shape.
Time to make: 10 – 15 mins
Time to dry: 2 – 3 hours
- With the clay fashion two round structures, one for the head and a bigger one for the body. Place the head on the body.
- Flatten and shape some clay in the form of ears and place each on either side of the head.
- Make elongated rolls for two legs, two hands and one elongated roll for the trunk.
- Attach the trunk at the centre of the head and the legs to the base of the idol.
- Once you stick the hands on either side of the body, flatten out the ends to make the palms.
- Now you have a rough figure of Ganesha.
- To add a little detail, a small ball as a ladoo can be place on one of the hands and clay shaped as a crown can be
placed on the head.
- Let your creativity run high! Create different designs on the idol by using a toothpick.
- Dry the idol, but not under direct sunlight or else it will develop cracks!
Make Lord Ganesha and the environment happy this Ganesh Chaturthi.
Ganapati Bappa Morya!