Ganesh festival is one of the most enthusiastically celebrated festivals in Maharashtra and Western India. But it is blamed for the variety of pollution it causes.
- Water Pollution: Idols made up of plaster of paris, harmful metals (mercury, lead, cadmium) and colored with toxic paints cause tremendous water pollution when immersed in water at the end of the festival. These chemicals are dangerous to human health and affect circulatory system, nervous system and liver when they enter in our body through fishes or other sea food. Often material used for decoration (thermocol, plastic, tin foils etc.) is thrown in water which adds up to pollution.
- Sound pollution: Loud music on racks, musical instruments and loudspeakers cause high level noise pollution. It can cause stress, sleeplessness especially in elderly and children.
- Air Pollution: Use of gulal (colourful powder) makes air pollution.
- Soil pollution: It is caused due to the use of non-biodegradable material and accessories used during pooja / worship.
1. Use Eco-friendly idols made from wood or clay (shaadu clay) as these materials are biodegradable and disintegrate in water.
2. Use natural colours made from flowers, turmeric and other plants to paint ganesh idols than artificial and toxic colours.
3. Ganesh idols made from metals can be preserved for years and immersion of some symbolic idol made up of biodegradable material (e.g. betel nut or coconut) can be performed.
4. Immerse idols in a water tub at home or tanks constructed by government. Avoid immersing them in natural water bodies like lakes/ rivers / sea.
5. Perform symbolic immersion of idols just by sprinkling water and then donate them for recycling.
- Avoid use of plastic and thermocol for decoration. Use flowers, leaves, bamboo, cotton threads, paper instead.
- Recycle plastic and other recyclable material.
- Play songs or chants or other music on low volume. Avoid unnecessary use of loudspeakers.
- Avoid use of gulal during Ganesh visarjan. Use natural colors instead.
- Encourage others to follow these simple tips! Mass awareness campaigns in this regard are urgently required till the time there are no legal regulations!!