MPCB plans SMS service for ordering green Ganesh

Giving serious thought to environmental pollution caused during the Ganeshotsav every year, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) plans to start a service through which it will deliver eco-friendly idols to devotees at their doorstep, and all they have to do is send an SMS.

An eco-friendly Ganesh idol being sculpted at a workshop

Devotees wishing to avail of the service will need to SMS their name, address and phone number to 57333, which will then be forwarded by the board to idol makers in the sender’s area. The artisans in turn will contact the sender for the size, colour and other specifications and then deliver the idol to the devotee’s residence.

“Even though the government has banned the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP) for making idols in the state, several artists still use it. But constant awareness drives are leading to many people learning about the pollution these idols cause and are opting for eco-friendly ones. We want to deliver these idols to them ourselves,” MPCB spokesperson Sanjay Bhoskute said.

The MPCB will also set up a website through which devotees can select idols fitting their budget and then SMS the stipulations, like idol name and code number to the service number. Once the order is placed the artisans will call and clarify size and colour preference and make the delivery.

Like last year the board put up banners near mandals in the city to inform devotees about the new service. According to MPCB officials, the plan is to make around 50,000 idols and see them delivered to devotees across the state through the service.

Sources from the pollution control board said that the board, along with other activists, might impose restrictions on the height of the idols this year in order to curb traffic snarls and other
problems. The board will enforce regulations not allowing ganpati idols of over 15 ft in mandals.

Bhoskute said that representatives of all ganeshotsav committees, NGOs, artists and idol-makers, should unanimously decide setting the height limit even though the state government had put down rules pertaining to idol-height last year.

Idols exceeding 18 ft incur major expenses during transportation, cause traffic congestion and run risks of coming in contact with electric cables, besides leading to other risks while being immersed.

Causes for concern
After examining water before and after immersion last year, experts discovered substances like calcium, magnesium, molybdenum and silicon increased significantly with clay and PoP idols. Water quality is greatly affected when chemical colours are dissolved and metals like lead and mercury are dangerous to health and can damage the heart, kidneys, liver, circulatory system and central nervous system. Besides polluting the water, these substances reach humans via the food chain, when fish and other seafood is consumed. 

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