|Shri Green Ganesh
The materials used to make some Ganesh idols may be toxic!
Plaster of paris contains gypsum, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium
Chemical paints contain mercury, cadmium, lead and carbon Immersion
of these can poison the waters of lakes, rivers and the sea by
increasing acidity increasing solid matter increasing organic matter
increasing content of heavy metals
Such pollution damages the ecosystem by Killing the fishes Damaging
the plants Blocking the natural flow of the water and causing
And damages health by polluting drinking water sources causing
Breathing problems Blood diseases Skin diseases
Use permanent idols made of brass or stone
Do a symbolic immersion
Reuse the same idol again the next year
Use a small unpainted idol made of unbaked clay if you immerse the
Immerse the idol in a tub or a water tank
Collect the flowers and nirmalya and compost them
Avoid the use of thermocole and
plastic in decorations
Idol immersion during the festival
season this year is going to take much more than getting your feet wet.
Gone are the days when Mr and Mrs Murthi made or bought Ganesh idols
made of eco-friendly clay for pooja during ‘vinayaka chaturthi ’.There
is a growing threat from “Bombay- ishtyle Ganesh ”or “Designer Ganesh
”.Not only are the idols becoming bigger and modelled after modern
social themes like terrorism and cricket but they are now being made
from toxic materials.
The practice of immersion of Ganesh
idols after the Ganesh festival in various cities is causing severe
water pollution. Studies conducted by the Central Pollution Control
Board show that idol immersion during festive occasionslike
Vinayaka Chaturthi and Durga Puja is putting “significant stress ” (pollution)on
rivers, lakes and local ponds.
Plaster Of Paris does not get dissolved or disintegrated fast. Moreover,
the chemical dyes and colours being used to colour the idols contain
poisonous elements. Particularly, Red, Blue, Orange and Green colours
contain Mercury, Zinc oxide, Chromium and Lead, the potential causes of
According to one estimate,7500 idols of Ganesh are weighing about 20,000
kg or in other words,20 tonnes. The sea-shore of Mumbai absorbs the
immersion of about 1.5 lakh idols every year. No wonder accumulation of
clay, Plaster Of Paris, dangerous chemicals from the paints and colours
is affecting fish and other aquatic creatures. Besides our water sources
are being poisoned.
of Durga statues during the Durga pooja is also a cause of concern. In
Orissa alone 5,000 Durga pooja idols are made, most of them using
harmful paints. Heavy metals like lead and chrome are not easily
assimilated in an aquatic environment and can cause immense flora and
fauna of the river, pond, lake and coastal areas. As the same river,
pond and lake water is used for bathing and drinking purpose high levels
of lead can damage the heart, kidneys, liver, circulatory system and
central nervous system, warn health experts.
In the name Ganesh ‘Ga ’ symbolizes Buddhi (intellect) and ‘Na ’
symbolizes Vijnana ((wisdom) Ganesha is thus considered the master of
intellect and wisdom.But by dumping our gods and godesses into our lakes
and rivers, are we using ours?
The Murthi ’s plan to make lovely ganesh idols at home only with clay.
Pandit Gobar Ganesh appeals to all its readers to get into the act and
support the Muddy Murthi ’s in their efforts to have a green and safe
festival season this year.Find out about similar initiatives in your
city. Write to us and tell what you found out and did.
G R E E N G A N E S H
E C O F R I E N D L Y
I D O L S
Support the Green Ganesh initiatives in the country
MYSORE: The Centre for Appropriate Rural Technologies (CART) has
launched a movement to make Ganesha festivities more
environment-friendly as part of its “Clean Mysore” drive. The focus is
on the immersion part of the festivities which bodes ill for the water
PUNE: As part of
the Safe Festivals campaign being coordinated by Kalpavriksh Environment
Group, eco sensitive idols have been developed for the festival this
year. These idols that are made using unbaked clay, are painted with
natural materials such as red earth and turmeric.∑Once the rituals are
over, the idols can be immersed without the ornaments in a bucket of
water and the solution can be safely drained into one's own garden.
For more information go to
The Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV) has been campaigning against the
annual Ganesh idol immersion that is not only polluting the Hussainsagar
lake in Hyderabad but also playing havoc with the health of Hyderabadis.
10,000 idols are immersed in the lake every year and with them, 7,000
tonnes of Plaster of Paris, 150 tonnes iron, 50 tonnes of wood besides
dangerous substances like mercury, nickel, cadmium and turpentine oil
that come laced with the colours of the idols too. “These pollutants
over the decades have sunk into the groundwater system of the city.
Further, the lake water is
let into the Musi, in whose surroundings vegetables for the city are
grown and supplied,” JVV points out. The High Court has directed the
government to take immediate action.
BANGALORE: The Lake development Authority in Bangalore has made
special immersion provisions on the shore of the numerous tanks in the
city. An awareness drive has been initiated to make people sensitive to
the need to dispose of ganesh idols without endangering these water