Mumbai is getting ready for the annual fanfare of Ganeshotsav. From August 25, people will host Lord Ganesha in their homes, and welcome happiness and prosperity with him. The city’s festival, brings with it a lot of excitement and changes its ambience altogether. For 12 days, there is music and prayers, delicious food and sweets. On the last day, it is time to say goodbye to the lord, as he is submerged into the water, with the promise that he will come back soon next year. That last day is sad for the people as well as the local environment, since the water bodies are filled with dissolved chemicals, which were once Ganesh idols.
The paints with which the idols are adorned are toxic and very harsh chemicals. These are harmful for the marine life and, in case of lakes supplying water to the city, even to the citizens! Along with this, flowers, garlands, plastic bags that come with each idol are also left in the water. Since past couple of decades, the realisation has dawned on people, thanks to campaigns by the government, NGOs and researchers. People now realise their responsibility towards the surroundings also, apart from the festivities. Therefore, special areas are earmarked for the immersion of the idols and that too, without the flowers and garlands. The Ganesh idols went from chemicals-made to clay-made and painted with organic paints.
This year, taking the eco-friendly Ganesh one step further is Dattadri Kothur who has come up with a unique idea. The Tree Ganesha is a novel concept where the idols are made of clay and plant seeds are mixed in them. So, after the festival, you can pot the idol and water it, to get a tree Ganesha. The type of seeds he puts in the idols are those which can easily be taken care of, like ladies finger.
Dattadri had used his clay idols to convey social messages before, about environment and traffic safety and pollution. It is people like Dattadri who help us see beyond the pomp and show of the festivals and spread lessons of a better lifestyle.
During festivals it is easier to forget our responsibilities towards the ecology, but those are the times which affect it the most. Therefore, make merry by eradicating pollution.
The CSR Journal Team