Eco Ganeshas Are All The Rage This Season


BANGALORE, Sept 9, 2012 (Times of India): Come September 19 and eco friendly icons of Lord Ganesha look good to find their way to homes of many a devotee in Bangalore. Eco-friendly Ganeshas are ‘in’ this year, evident by the advance bulk bookings. “People are now aware of being environment-friendly, which the sale and booking figures clearly indicate. We sourced more than double the number of icons than last year just to keep up with demand,” said Mala Dhawan, founder trustee of A Hundred Hands who get their icons from North Karnataka, Shimoga and Maharashtra. They have registered 100 icon bookings so far and are expecting the number to go up manifold around the festival. “All you have to do is immerse the icon in a bucket of water, which can then be used in the garden, it nurtures plants and completing the cycle of nature,” said Dhawan.

Lead-based paint used to make icons colorful and shiny is environment-unfriendly as lead is a pollutant which is hazardous to health. Plaster of paris, widely used to make Ganesha idols, contains sulphur, gypsum, phosphorus and magnesium. While icons made of natural clay dissolve within hours of immersion in water, these icons take several years to disintegrate. This disturbs the water’s ecosystem by reducing water levels and also blocking water flow. The toxic paint used in making the icons form a thin layer on the water surface, increasing the acidity level and reducing oxygen supply to aquatic animals by about 50%. This often results in the death of fish and others which depend on oxygen for survival. “That’s why shoals of dead fish are often seen floating on the surface of water bodies soon after the festival,” said Vinay Kumar C, environmental researcher, National Referral Centre for Lead Projects in India (NRCLPI), St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences.


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