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Sanatan seeks ban on paper mache Ganpati

Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganpati Visarjan, Lord Ganesha, Bappa, Ganpati Bappa, Gajanand, Lambodar,

Mumbaikars are all set to celebrate the 10-day long Ganesh festival with pomp and show. After a short respite, it has started pouring again in the city as if the rain is also welcoming Lord Ganesh. Thousands of pandals have been set up across Mumbai and its suburbs. At some places, idols of Bappa have already reached the pandals, devotees at the rest places will welcome Ganesh idols with traditional Dhol and Tasha on Monday. And fast life of Mumbai metropolitan will finally come to stand still in greeting Lord Ganesh during his arrival ceremony.

With Ganesh festival starting on Monday, the excitement and enthusiasm among the people of Mumbai and entire Maharashtra can be seen everywhere. Police and administration are engaged in ensuring flawless Ganesh celebrations. The security has been beefed up at Ganesh puja pandals and temples. At the same time, alert environmentalists are also in action to protect environment in Ganesh festival as Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris and chemicals paints are causing havoc to the environment. Some Ganesh Mandals got made Lord Ganesh’s idol of paper pulp in the name of environment friendly Lord Ganesh. But on immersion, Ganesh’s idol of paper pulp pollutes water bodies dangerously.  Therefore, Sanatan Sanstha has demanded a ban on Ganesh idols made of paper pulp.

The National Chairman of the Youth Front of the Hindustan National Party, advocate Khush Khandelwal has sent a legal notice to the Tejukaya Ganesh Utsav Mandal, Mumbai. He has also sent notice to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the Environment Department of the Maharashtra Government in this regard. Sanatan Sanstha has appreciated this initiative.

On the other hand, E Vivekanandan, scientist, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute told Afternoon Voice, “The paper pulp idols are comparatively safer to clay idols. As a solution, the study states four natural colours — Multani mitti, turmeric, terra cotta and poster colours — could be used than the artificial colours. The best option is poster colours as their malignancy levels are lower than synthetic colours.”

It is worth mentioning that the Tejukaya Ganesh Utsav Mandal, Mumbai has installed a 22-feet-tall Ganpati idol made of bamboo sticks, paper pulp, water-soluble adhesives and colours. This 22-feet-tall idol weighs around 1500-2000 kg. In the name of eco-friendly Ganesh, they are going to do huge harm to the environment. Adv. Khush Khandelwal has demanded the Department of the Environment and the Pollution Control Board must take appropriate action. But as of now, both seem to have a great deal of inactivity. According to the notice, the first duty of the Environment Department and the Pollution Control Board is to prevent water pollution from paper pulp or any other way. So, wherever the paper is going for making Ganesh idol, action must be taken against concerned persons. He demanded to remove the government circular from its record about the idols made from paper pulp.

Avinash Kubal, Deputy Director, MNP Society stated, “The toxicity of heavy metals in the colour used to paint idols, even the paper mache (paper pulp) ones, remains a problem. The study revealed that clay (locally known as shaadu) takes almost three weeks to dissolve in water, which, although less than the time taken by PoP idols.”

It is remarkable that the then Congress government’s decision on May 3, 2011, encouraged paper pulp Ganesh idols. As per report of the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Matunga, paper pulp is a dangerous water pollutant. The National Green Arbitration Authority on September 30, 2016, postponed government’s circular regarding it. Following which, government said that there should be no incentive to make idols from paper pulp. But eco-friendly Ganesh made of paper pulp is being made even today. There should be mass awareness regarding bad effects of so called eco-friendly Ganesh idols in Mumbai, Maharashtra and the whole India.

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