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Ganesh Festival
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Environmental concerns

Ganesh Chaturthi brings with it happiness, joy and celebrations. At the same time, there are a number of environmental concerns which take a backseat. Immersion of Ganesha idols in rivers and lakes cause water pollution and endanger water-bodies.

Given below is a list of environmental hazards that are caused due to immersion of Ganesha idols in water bodies and some do’s and don’ts to celebrate the festival in a responsible way. (Courtesy: Kalpavriksha)

Environmental hazards:

The materials used to make some Ganesh idols may be toxic! (Plaster of paris contains gypsum, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium Chemical paints contain mercury, cadmium, lead and carbon.). Immersion of these can poison the waters of lakes, rivers and the sea by:

  • Increasing acidity
  • Increasing solid matter
  • Increasing organic matter
  • Increasing content of heavy metals

    Such pollution damages the ecosystem by:
  • Killing the fishes
  • Damaging the plants
  • Blocking the natural flow of the water and causing stagnation

    It damages health by polluting drinking water sources causing:
  • Breathing problems
  • Blood diseases
  • Skin diseases
The Alternatives
  • Use permanent idols made of brass or stone
  • Do a symbolic immersion
  • Reuse the same idol again the next year
  • Use a small unpainted idol made of unbaked clay if you immerse the idol
  • Immerse the idol in a tub or a water tank
  • Collect the flowers and nirmalya and compost them
  • Avoid the use of thermocole and plastic in decorations