Ganesh Chaturthi with a green touch
This Ganesh Chaturthi, we look at the eco-friendly idol options available in the city to celebrate the festival
There is an array of traditions universal to religious festivals in India, no matter the community. Apart from the revelry, elaborate decor, sartorial choices, and delectable cuisine, idols also make for an important part of most occasions. However, after the festivities come to a close, more often than not these idols are immersed in water bodies with complete disregard for the environment, specifically marine life.
Given the enormous environmental impact, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has issued directives ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, prohibiting Plaster of Paris (PoP)-based idols from being immersed in any water bodies except at designated spots, and encouraging natural clay, natural dyes and biodegradable materials for idol making.
Use and grow
After the pandemic, there has been an uptick in people who are now adopting eco-friendly practices. Buying eco-friendly Ganesh idols or even making them using DIY kits is now quite popular in Delhi-NCR. “Festivals in India give you an opportunity to practise something new, which is in sync with the environment or the basic principles of sustainability,” says Saurabh Mehta (34), founder of Ashok Vihar-based bioQ eco solutions that sells kits of plantable idols of Lord Ganesha.
Talking about how they came up with the concept, he shares, “On the day of the festival—Ganesh Chaturthi—you end up discarding the idol because there is hardly a proper way of disposal. So, the immediate good use is to have seeds inside them; the concept we had was to make the traditions greener. Our range is ‘use and grow’, not ‘use and throw’ which is what it has been for people for years.”
Eco-friendly options are slightly more expensive than PoP idols. “The cost is remarkably different; similar-looking idols will be at least half the value,” shares Mehta. However, to tackle this, Mehta says, they try to add ancillary items to the kit to make it an “engaging activity” and “experiential one”. “Since these are plantable, we provide the pot and the cocopeat; it is difficult to compare it with anything else as we provide an experience.”
Clay and play
Dwarka-based Sachii Tripathii (42), founder, Terracotta by Sachii, started her initiative amid the pandemic. Tripathii—she also conducts workshops prior to Chaturthi, apart from selling kits to make Clay Ganesha comprising clay, tools to create idol, and more—talks about the impact, “Every time I have had workshops, I have seen that the enthusiasm has really grown to create their own Ganpatis rather than buying PoP and plastic ones.
In fact, now, there is a huge demand for kacchi mitti (clay) Ganpati, and also a huge supply of this, which is great. It is available in the market now, and people are enthusiastic to make their own Ganpatis, as well, instead of buying it.”