BENGALURU: Instead of buying colourful and glittering Ganesha idols that are hazardous to the environment, this habba (festival), bring home eco-friendly idols of the God.
Gowri-Ganesha festivals are one of the prominent festivals of Southern India and celebrated with pomp and glory across Karnataka.
Over the years, to one-up their neighbours, families have been insistent on buying bigger Ganesha idols. More often that not, they are made of Plaster of Paris, which harms the environment.
“When we visited Goshala in Maharashtra, they were making idols using cow dung. We did not know about this and would usually bring home idols made of clay. This year, we bought these clay idols in bulk and are selling those here,’’ says Priya Gowda, of Vijayanagar.
She explains how cow dung was a significant part of our society once, where families would dry it and spread it in front of their houses.
“But now, people don’t even want to touch cow dung. We just want to bring the past culture back. Ganesha idols ranging from 3 inches to 12 inches are available at my store and the pricing begins at `100,’’ she said.
Sandeep Gopal, who owns an organic shop at Bhattarahalli in K R Puram, gets Ganesha idols made out of cow dung from Ramachandrapur mutt.
“These Ganeshas are of one feet and dissolve as soon as they are set in water. This water solution can serve as manure as well,’’ he says. The idol he bought costs `275.
Implementation is big challenge
Last month, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had issued a notification, directing that immersion of coloured Ganesha or Ganapathi idols of Plaster of Paris will attract `10,000 fine or jail term or both.
The notification came in the light of the recent death of fishes and other aquatic animals owing to pollutants in the water. KSPCB authorities blame harmful chemicals present in paint used on Ganesha idols for the aquatic deaths.
Under Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1974, KSPCB is the authority responsible to protect lakes.
A senior official who does not wish to reveal his identity says, in spite of bringing awareness over ban on idols made of Plaster of Paris and harmful colours, people are using such them during festivals. The same will be immersed in lakes and tanks, killing the aqua system gradually.
The prohibition was later relaxed as the authorities felt the idol makers have already invested money for this year’s work. “If a ban is imposed now, they will be in loss. All of them are poor, so we will implement it from next year,’’ said a KSPCB official.