Pune city is known to celebrate Ganeshotsav with much pomp and gaiety as compared to other cities in the state. This year also the city has donned its best colours to welcome Bappa as Puneites set out to purchase extravagant Ganesh idols. But, should this be done at the cost of harming the environment?
After the Goa government imposes a strict ban on manufacture or import of plaster of Paris (PoP) idols, we asked Puneites if we should take similar action and discontinue the use of non-eco-friendly Ganesh idols.
Girish Charwad (Fine Artist/Ganapati decorator)– I strongly believe that eco-friendly Ganesh idols should be promoted and those which harm the environment must not be in use. People need to take precautions even in choosing the material used for decorative purposes. Everywhere I see people using Ganesh idols made out of plaster of Paris (PoP) instead of shadu ones. The only issue with shadu Ganesh idols are that it requires a lot of care and maintenance since they can crack easily. It’s a similar case with idols made out of paper pulp, the process of making it is time consuming and turns out to be very expensive. Therefore, very few people opt for it.
Mangesh Dighe (Environment Officer, Pune Municipal Corporation)– Yes, promoting eco-friendly Ganesh idols must be done but banning them altogether is slightly harsh. But, there are methods to keep it in control such as encouraging one Ganapati idol per locality and using the same idol next year instead of immersing it.
Mahesh Suryavanshi (Trustee of Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Sarwajanik Trust)– Using non-eco-friendly Ganesh idols made out of PoP do not dissolve in water, creating many environmental hazards. The idea to discontinue the use of these should definitely be implemented. But, that also means having a good number of eco-friendly idols in the market which is currently absent. People are left with no option but purchase PoP made idols.
Nilesh Vakil (Trustee of Kasba Ganapati)– It would be a good initiative to discontinue the use of non-eco-friendly Ganesh idols, but there are a few loopholes. It has more to do with the practicality since 70 to 80 percentage of idols in the market are made out of PoP, leaving people with no choice. Also, since it is a sensitive, religious topic we can only appeal to the masses to move to eco-friendly idols and educated them about the benefits. I feel that it should be a collective effort by individuals and the Ganapati pandals.
Vijay Nandgaonkar (Member of planning committee for Ganeshotsav in New Vrindavan Society)– I definitely support the discontinuation of non-eco-friendly Ganesh idols as they only cause harm to the environment. I feel that the issue should be viewed from its roots and therefore the manufacturers of such idols should be banned. Having said that, I have seen that many people do not opt for shadu idols due to the restrictions it imposes, it can only be made up to a certain height.
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