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How To Go Green For Ganesha

How To Go Green For Ganesha

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated fervently every year in various parts of the country, especially in Maharashtra. The festival marks the birth of Lord Ganesha and lasts for 10 days. Although year after year, the cause of worry has been the amount of pollution to the environment through our ways of celebration. 


Causes and Hazards of pollution during festivals:


  • The main pollution is caused by the Plaster of Paris Ganesh idols and chemical paints used in them.


  • Plaster of Paris (POP) is not a naturally occurring material and contains gypsum, sulfur, phosphorus and magnesium. The idols take several months to dissolve in water and in the process poisons the waters and the creatures living underneath.


  • The chemical paints used to decorate the Ganesh idol contain mercury, lead, cadmium and carbon which increases the acidity and heavy metal content in the water.


  • Several accessories used during the Ganesh Puja like thermocol, plastic flowers, cloth, unused incense, camphor, and numerous other materials that are dumped carelessly, thus adding more strain to the already polluted rivers and lakes.


  • Careless dumping of Ganesh idols in water bodies blocks the natural flow of water. This results in stagnation and breeding of mosquitoes and other harmful pests.


  • Offerings, prasad, fruits which are carried to pandals in plastic bags or plates are thrown away later. Nobody takes care of that, thus polluting the environment.


  • The polluted water causes several diseases including skin diseases.


  • Huge idols are difficult to immerse, and sometimes do not dissolve completely which ultimately washes off back to the shore, hurting people’s sentiments. 


  • The pollution from Ganesh Chaturthi idols also damages the ecosystem, kills fishes and water plants.


The following are some useful tips for celebrating an eco-friendly Ganesh festival:


  • Eco-friendly Ganesh idol: Buy or make idols made of natural, biodegradable materials so that after immersions on Visarjan day, it does not pollute water and surroundings. Natural products can be used like unbaked clay, coconut, paint made with natural colors, etc. Eco-friendly idols are also available on various vendor platforms like Amazon, Treeganesha.com and more.


  • Limit the size of Ganesh idols in your community: Bigger sized idols take more space. The height of the Ganesh idol should be limited to a maximum of 5 feet or 1.5 meters. 


  • Natural colors for Rangoli: Use natural, biodegradable colors for making Rangoli such as turmeric, henna, Mehendi, rice powder, gulaal, etc. Such colors do not pose a threat to human health and do not affect the environment too.


  • Decorations: During festivals, people generally use plastic and non-degradable material like cups, artificial flowers, thermocol, etc. These materials add more danger to our environment when dumped. Natural materials like cloth, wood, paper can be used to make dolls, puppets and bells to decorate around Ganpati idol. 


  • Ban plastic for Puja: Discourage the use of Plastic Bags for disposing of “Nirmalya” and other offerings and these should be rather disposed of in paper bags. Use natural plates like banana leaves instead of plastic plates for distributing Prasad. 


  • Refrain from Noise Pollution: Avoid playing loud music and loudspeakers which creates problems for hospitals, old age homes and educational institutes. Speakers and microphones should only be played between 6 am and 10 pm, and people should abide by the rules. Avoid bursting firecrackers. Instead, you can arrange cultural programs before or after the Visarjan rituals.


  • Artificial immersion tank: Use artificial immersion tank instead of natural water sources like rivers, lakes or ponds that are also used for irrigation or drinking purposes.


  • Awareness on Green Ganesh or Eco-friendly Ganesh: Understand the concept of the Ganesh festival in its true sense and its effects on our Mother Nature and promote Eco-friendly ways of celebration among your family and friends.


  • Compost pit for organic material: Collect separately after the festivals, the offerings of flowers, garlands often called “Nirmalya” and other organic materials and put them in a community built compost pit. This compost material can be used to fertilize your garden. If you must immerse them, wrap them in newspapers instead of polythene bags as paper is biodegradable. Dried flowers can be used later to make natural colors or decorative items for gifts.


  • 3Rs-Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: The three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle – all help to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away. 

Reduce is the best way to manage waste. 

Reuse products in different ways. 

Recycling the Ganesh festival flowers and festival leftovers is another way to manage waste. 


  • Organize Workshops: Spread awareness by forming a group or a team in your community. Teach the younger generation the benefits of celebrating an eco-friendly festival with environment-friendly products.