Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival to honor the lord of the lords, the destroyer of pain and evil – lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha and Ganesh Chaturthi are known by different names in different Indian states, but in every state, the festival is celebrated with equal pomp and zeal.
The ten-day festival which begins with ‘Pranapratishhtha’ and ends with ‘Ganpati Visarjan,’ is a festival of togetherness and love. But unfortunately, the tradition of Visarjan or immersion of Ganpati idol in rivers and lakes have detrimental effects on the environment.
The non-degradable plastic materials used in making Ganesh idols as well as the use of plastic in pandals and decoration, either end up polluting our water bodies or add to the height of the many landfills scattered around the country.
This Ganesh Chaturthi, let’s celebrate the birth of Lord Ganesha in a way that’s respectful to Mother Nature.
How to celebrate eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi?
Use eco-friendly Ganpati idol
Most people bring idols made from Plaster of Paris or PoP into their homes. PoP is artificially made from chemicals that degrade very slowly. When immersed in water bodies, PoP changes to gypsum, the main component of hard water which deteriorates the life-sustaining capacity of water bodies.
The best way to avoid this is to bring home a clay Ganesha idol. Clay idols completely immerse in water, thus no harm is done to the living creatures living underwater. If you are keen on using a PoP idol, refrain from immersing it in a river or lake. Instead, just conduct the Visarjan Pooja and give the idol for recycling.
India has no shortage of skilled artisans who make beautiful ‘mitti Ganesh murti’. Clay idols are more vibrant and lustrous than PoP idols. It will be an added advantage if your Eco friendly Ganesha murti is painted by natural dyes and colors. Some people also use idols made from metal or wood which they then symbolically immerse underwater and use it again next year.
Use eco-friendly decoration
Avoid using plastic decorative items like plastic flowers or garlands. Use natural flowers and garlands to decorate your Pooja room. The decorative lights should be kept on only during ‘aarti’ to avoid wastage of electricity. Before immersing the Ganesh murti in a water reservoir, the flowers and all other ornaments should be removed so that they do not dirty and do not increase oil and grease in the water.
The ten days of Vinayaka chavithi will involve a lot of sharing and distributing of ‘Prasaad.’ Ensure that this tradition is followed without harming the environment. Use plates made out of leaves or paper. During festivals or social gatherings, we often see plastic plates and cups scattered on roadsides and open compounds. Avoid littering by encouraging your guests to throw their plates only in a dustbin, whose components should be then discarded properly.
Collect all the natural items – flowers, leaves, and vegetable and fruit skins and make compost of it. Such organic waste acts as an incredible fertilizer.