Ganapati Bappa More ya!!!

by mynk on Sep 02, 2008      Category: Environment Tags: environment ganesh ganapati festival

After holi, diwali and many other festivals it is now time to put a conscious effort in celebrating this festival with a little more awareness.

Bangalore has lost a lot if it lakes to various reasons - don't let this be one!

Let the debate for/against IDOLATORY be at rest for a while and see to it that smaller idols can be used in a way mother nature is not displeased... :)

Love the promotion on radio about using buckets for the immersion of Lord Ganesh.

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Environmental Impact

Ecosensitive Ganesh Chaturthi

A excerpt from wikipedia about the same -


Environmental Impact

The most serious impact of the Ganesh festival on the natural environment is due to the immersion of idols made of Plaster of Paris into lakes, rivers and the sea. Traditionally, the Ganesh idol was sculpted out of earth taken from nearby one’s home. After worshipping the divinity in this earth idol, it was returned back to the Earth by immersing it in a nearby water body. This cycle represented the cycle of creation and dissolution in Nature.

However, as the production of Ganesh idols on a commercial basis grew, the earthen or natural clay (shaadu maati in Marathi) was replaced by Plaster of Paris. Plaster is a man made material, easier to mould, lighter and less expensive than clay. However, plaster takes much longer to dissolve and in the process of dissolution releases toxic elements into the water body. The chemical paints used to adorn these plaster idols, themselves contain heavy metals like mercury and cadmium.

On the final day of the Ganesh festival thousands of plaster idols are immersed into water bodies by devotees. These increase the level of acidity in the water and the content of heavy metals.[7] The day after the immersion, shoals of dead fish can be seen floating on the surface of the water body as a result of this sudden increase.[8]

Several non governmental and governmental bodies have been addressing this issue. Amongst the solutions proposed by various groups some are as follows:

* Return to the traditional use of natural clay idols and immerse the idol in a bucket of water at home.[9]
* Use of a permanent idol made of stone and brass, used every year and a symbolic immersion only.
* Recycling of plaster idols to repaint them and use them again the following year.
* Ban on the immersion of plaster idols into lakes, rivers and the sea.[10]
* Creative use of other biodegradable materials such as paper mache to create Ganesh idols.
* Encouraging people to immerse the idols in tanks of water rather than in natural water bodies.[11]

To handle religious sentiments sensitively, some temples and spiritual groups have also taken up the cause.[12]

5 users have voted.
mynk's picture


Interested in the development sector and hoping to use the skills to create a positive more



madhu_ramji's picture

Excellent and informative posting.

mynk's picture

Comment from a user on

Hi and Namaste,
Thanks for your views on this famous festival of Maharashtra.Here are my views .

Ganesh Festival – the real purpose.

Our ancient sages formulated rituals, customs, festivals on very sound scientific and ecological basis with a view to ensure that ' Work became Worship ' - ignorance of this was compounded by ' vested interests' .This led to a blind belief in rituals, poojas, festivals and ' Worship became
Work ! ' What ( not Who) is G-O-D ? It is an acronym for *G *enaration \ Creation \ Birth, *O *peration \Sustenance \ maintenance \ Life, *D *estruction\ Dissolution \ Death governed by the symbolic GODS Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively.This happens every moment, i.e '
Change alone is Constant, Absolute and Permanent. Therefore, said the wise sages, DO NOT CLING \ GET ATTACHED - to anything ! This TRUTH was sought to be conveyed, subtly, especially to children, through the Ganesh Festival
wherein a cute, colourful, little idol of Ganpati was made and merrily brought home .Generous merriment and feasting on sweets ( modaks etc) happened in the name of the Lord ! Then the idol was immersed in a water body. Even this
self procured ' joy ' had to be given away ! What control can we have on the unexpected \ uninvited ( A – Tithee) ' joys & sorrows' ? The chant ' Pudhchya Varshee
Lavkar Yaa ' emphasised the cyclic nature of all events !
This was sustainable and relevant when the idols were made of local materials, worshipped with local flowers and leaves (not plucked but those that had fallen down
after they had done their ' Dharma ' of Photosynthesis and Pollination) and immersed in the local water body. Our large scale celebrations only Linearise this simple Cyclical process and make it a real nuisance for all involved!

Instead of visiting the trees for worship ( meant to prevent their destruction) we bring home their branches, flowers ( Dasara, Vatapournima, etc) and discard them as garbage! What Piety!!

Thus, we create the VIGHNA s (obstacles) and then try to ' bribe' the VIGHNA - HARTA ( Lord Ganesh) to remove ( Hara) them ! Let us motivate children to make their own cute little Ganpatis, paint them and immerse them in a bucket
of water. this can be used to water and nourish the plants in their garden!

Yours Nature - Ally,
Ramanand Kowta Mumbai

mynk's picture

A unique way to celebrate the festival -

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