Mumbai has turned into the city of the Grand Trunk Roads with Ganesh Chaturthi just two days away — September 17, to be precise. By today, most big pandals have already welcomed the elephant God and now, several families will be bringing idols to their home, if they have not already done so. The fervour is palpable as the 10-day festival begins.
Since a few years now, the Ganesh festival too has been touched by the green trend we see in the city. Environmental-friendly or eco-friendly has become the term to drop at parties, seminars, conferences or all important events. The demand for eco-friendly ganpatis is going up slowly though, and we see a welcome uptick in awareness and responsibility. What we want now, is quicker change, eco-friendly should move from just being the latest trend to being mainstream. Idol makers should start switching to eco-friendly materials as well. Even now, such green idols are limited to a few households and individuals. It should now move from exception to norm.
Maybe the government could step in to make eco-friendly material a little less expensive than it is currently so that it is more accessible to people. Plaster of Paris (POP) idols are cheaper than eco-friendly ones, which is one reason why the demand for them is more. It is time to bridge that gap. A housing society in Thane is going a step further by creating an artificial pond in its own premises for immersion. This is worth thinking about, at least, if not emulating.
Several homes also have a permanent idol, which is immersed symbolically on Visarjan day and then brought back home. This too is a good way to mark the festival.
Pandals too must do their bit to be eco-friendly, and curb noise pollution as much as they can during these days.
This is not to puncture the spirit of the festival but simply display sensitivity towards all. It is a time to celebrate and seek His blessings. Welcome to our city, Ganeshji.