Why Green Bappa?

We all love our favorite elephant God- Ganesha, fondly referred to as ‘Ganapati Bappa’ in Maharashtra. We bring him in our houses with lot of fanfare, beautifully decorate his throne, keep him well fed with ladoos and modaks, entertain him with bhajans and artis, but when the time comes for him to depart we are careless and unimaginative.

 

How?

  1. Plaster of Paris or PoP idols which are commonly used, contain chemicals like gympsum, sulphur, magnesium, phosphorous. These when immersed in water, take a long time to dissolve in the water, release chemicals and harm the eco system in water.
  2. The chemicals used in the paints to color the idols contain trace elements like arsenic, mercury, silicon, lead, magnesium which are poisonous and not only kill aquatic life but also may enter our food cycle leading to long term health consequences.
  3. Idols that are improperly immersed restrict the flow of water and cause water stagnation increasing chance of mosquito infestation and diseases.
  4. The thermocol makhars or decorations used during the festival are dumped along the garbage, increasing landfill and which takes thousands of years to disintegrate.
  5. The garlands and other flower waste thrown in plastic bags into lakes, rivers and the seas, lead to water pollution.

There is no denying the faith and the love we all feel about Ganesha but we must equally be concerned about the impact of our actions on the environment. We feel strongly feel about the unnecessary harm done to our environment while celebrating this joyful festival. So have creating a platform to spread awareness about the issue and providing solutions for celebrating Ganesh utsav in an eco friendly manner.

Ganesh Chaturthi’s Eco friendly Origins

Unlike the kind of celebrations we today associate with Ganesh Chaturthi- loud, ostentatious, environmentally degrading; the original Ganesh Chaturthi was quite opposite. According to some, it was the ancient agricultural communities in India that began this custom. In order to offer their thanks to earth since they depended on it, they collected some soil from the bank from the river and took it home to worship. After the ritual was over, they would take back the soil and immerse it in the river.

Over a period, the custom evolved and the mound of soil became Ganesha. They first started making Ganesh idols from the soil they brought home then the local craftsmen made them. Slowly it was clay and then Plaster of Paris that was now used to make the idols. Then came artificial colours and then elaborate decorations. Today, more grand the decoration, bigger the idol, more expensive the budget- the better.. Thus from a small, simple, symbolic gesture of gratitude, Ganesh chaturthi became a festival of grandiose, losing some of its soul in the process.