Ganesh goes green

Aug 25, 2014, 09:47 IST | Juili Eklahare

With Ganesh Chaturthi festival just round the corner, the guide tells you how to have an environment-friendly celebration this year

The God of wisdom and good fortune will soon be here. And while preparations for the ten days when Ganpati bestows his presence on earth have already begun, we ought to be mindful of our surroundings and celebrate the festival, Ganesh Chaturthi, in an eco-friendly way.

A Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in progress
A Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in progress

Tanmay Khaitan, member of Parivartan, an NGO says, 'To begin with, we could avoid using Plaster of Paris (PoP) and painted idols which do most of the damage. Instead, clay or shaadu is most suitable for celebration as they do not pollute the 'environment.' He also suggests that in lieu of immersing the idols 'directly into lakes, rivers and seas, we could make use of water tanks constructed by the government, to avoid water pollution.'

Eco-friendly decorative options for Ganesh Chaturthi
Eco-friendly decorative options for Ganesh Chaturthi

Khaitan mentions that big idols occupy a lot of space and cause traffic congestion. So it proves to be better to use idols not taller than five feet. Besides, the noise pollution caused by loud music should be avoided by keeping a time limit, not playing beyond certain decibels or by playing soft and soothing instruments.

Children taking part in an eco-friendly Ganesh idol making workshop
Children taking part in an eco-friendly Ganesh idol making workshop

Besides, one should avoid fairy lights as apart from being just expensive, they also end up using a lot of energy. These could be replaced with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL), saving electricity and money. For those who are looking for a dramatic look, coloured cellophane is always a good option.

Reusing materials from previous years’ celebrations is perhaps one of the best ways to have an eco-friendly Ganesh Chathurti, as per experts. Cloth, wood, paper does not need to be thrown away and can be used over and over again. Another way is to skip plastic and serve food in natural plates like banana leaves and carry food in cloth bags.

Niranjan Upasani, who is involved in conducting eco-friendly Ganpati workshops says, “Bio-degradable colours such as turmeric, henna, rice powder, coloured dal are safe to use when it comes to rangoli. The use of Multani Mitti is also recommended which is available in any medical store.”

Upasani asserts that the agarbattis used during the festival too have toxic chemicals in them. Eco-friendly agarbattis can be easily accessed in organic stores.

Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival that is meant to bring people together. There can be a limit to pandals put up, asking people to gather at not too many spots. More pandals means more noise, garbage and waste of energy.

Things to do

The art of Ganesh Chathurti
Hobby Ideas, India’s first and finest chain of art, craft and hobby stores, presents Ganesh Chaturthi workshops. The workshop is on till Ganesh Chaturthi and is open for all.
At: Phoenix Market City, Nagar Road.
Call: 30950323

Ganesh Utsav’s lunch
This Ganesh Festival experience a home-cooked lunch at Western Routes founder Jayesh Paranjape’s house. He will be serving traditional dishes, which are specially made on during the auspicious Ganeshotsav. After lunch, all guests are invited to join the Ganesh pooja followed by the Visarjan ‘arti’ and ‘prasaad’. Prior registration compulsory.
Call: 9011040773
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Ganesh Festival Walk
Join The Western Routes as they walk the old city, visit the Manache Paach (respected five) Ganpati temples in Pune and gorge on some ukdiche modak (traditional sweet) en-route.
Call: 9011040773

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