Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in India every year with great pomp and show. The festival celebration lasts for 10 days, and on the last day, devotees immerse the idol of Lord Ganesha in a river, lake or sea. But, people get so much involved in the festival that they tend to forget the impact that the idols have on the environment once immersed. The idols’ size have become huge with the passage of time and it is now the need of the hour that the size of idols be made smaller.
A similar suggestion was made by the GHMC Mayor on Saturday, saying that the height of idols should be regulated by the devotees during festivals. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Mayor Bonthu Ram Mohan was speaking at a Meet-the-Press event organized by the Hyderabad Press Club.
The idol of Ganesha is usually made of Plaster of Paris, Cement and Plastic. For decorating the idol, toxic plants are used, so when the idol is immersed in water, the ingredients do not completely dissolve in water, and as a result, pollutes water. The festival also tends to have a huge impact on air, including noise pollution (another form of pollution), and also the solid waste (which gets accumulated after the puja is over).
Severe air pollution is caused as the devotees burn lot of crackers during those ten days of the festival. Because of the air pollution, they release a number of gases like that of mercury, sodium which are harmful to our environment.
Besides that, water pollution is another problem that harms our environment. As the idol is made up of Plaster of Paris, it does not get easily dissolved, it takes months and in some cases, years to dissolve in the sea. It also increases the level of oxygen in the water which tends to kill fishes and many marine animals.
We have seen that devotees immerse big idols in the sea, which has a huge impact on our environment, so it would be better if the height of the idol is decreased. As Maharashtra and adjoining states are facing severe water crisis, having small idols might help them in a large way. Using small and water friendly idols help in preventing the water bodies and the environment from getting polluted. Along with that, people should use fewer colours as the colours also tend to have chemicals mixed in them which harm the aquatic life.