Crafting Eco-friendly Ganeshas

Crafting Eco-friendly Ganeshas

by Ancy Nadar August 31 2020, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 51 secs

Ancy Nadar talks to various professionals about eco-friendly Ganeshas. She says that Ganesh Chaturthi is a much looked forward to festival. 

A slow but growing trend is the sculpting of Ganpati idols, which are made of clay to protect the environment. Eco-friendly Ganpatis are gradually becoming the norm.

Ten-year-old Kyeisha Almeida, from the Billabong High International School is excited that her experiment with making an eco-friendly Ganpati this year is highly appreciated. She says, "I made this model of Lord Ganesha with two types of clay mix that came in a box. I had to mix, knead and mold the clay till it became soft. I then formed and shaped the different parts of the body and after that I placed them very carefully to shape the idol. Dad helped me with the instructions and to adjust and place the parts properly. Then I kept the idol to dry for a few hours and when it was dry, I painted it. This was my first attempt and I am pleased with the finished model and with myself."

Ranjana Gehani, singer and author of the book Alankar, on musical notes also sculpted an eco-friendly Ganesha. She made it from scratch using Shadu Maati (clay). She learnt the art at a workshop conducted by Rajashri Shimpi in Nasik.

Author Monarose Sheila Pereira informs, "It is good to know that citizens, especially children, are now taking interest in environment friendly projects. There are several workshops being conducted to educate and encourage people to make eco-friendly Ganpatis. YouTube has several programs about the same. All the information on materials, techniques and workshops are now easily available. Hope more people take to this art and help make the festival eco-friendly."

To encourage this trend, Advocate Dushyant Krishnan suggests that the government should make it mandatory for all Ganesh idols to be made of clay or other environment friendly materials. He believes this will ensure that the environment is protected while we still continue celebrating the festival.

Explaining the need for such a movement, Environmental Consultant Yogen Parikh, explains, “After celebrating the festival the idols are immersed leaving rivers, seas, lakes and ponds polluted with plaster of Paris (POP), which is often used to make the idols. This has a negative impact on the environment. It harms the fish that live in the rivers, seas, lakes and ponds. POP has calcium sulphate hemihydrate, which takes months and years to dissolve completely. This has an adverse impact on the fish and other aquatic life as well as water shrubs and weeds. The paints used to color the idol have lead, nickel, cadmium and mercury, which affect the water and makes it poisonous and hazardous. When humans come in contact with this water they develop skin rashes and diseases. Thus it also badly impacts human health. Citizens should come together to protect the environment in whichever way they can." 

The media too can go a long way in spreading this message. Vice President of the Film Federation of India Ramesh Tekwani, says, “Ganpati is the favorite God of Bollywood. Nothing boosts the number eyeballs, footfalls, or a shove up the charts like a great, thumping Ganpati song. Everybody who is somebody in Bollywood has sung paeans of the elephant god. Amitabh Bachchan in Sarkar 3, Hrithik Roshan in Agneepath, Salman Khan in Wanted, Sharukh Khan in Don, Riteish Deshmukh in Banjo, Remo D'Souza included a Ganpati highlight in both ABCD and ABCD2, Mithun Chakraborty, Jeetendra, Sanjay Dutt; even Madhuri Dixit did not miss the chance; so why should Lord Ganpati not be a part of Bollywood? We invoke him for good beginnings, why can we not start a movement of keeping the environment clean post every Ganpati festival? Every film with a Ganpati song can carry the following disclaimer - The Ganpati idol used in the film was made with biodegradable material and vegetable dyes that are safe for the environment. YouTube could include an advertisement to this effect before the start of the season. Environmentalists and NGOs could create films to educate Ganpati idol makers to use environmentally friendly materials to create the idols. Anybody who has any influence should help to create a new movement; and for every good beginning, who better to evoke than our very own Ganpati Bappa! Such eco friendly practices and good initiatives taken by people should be encouraged. It is certainly a better way to pay tribute to Ganesha.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.