Mother Nature and her Ganu

Maharashtra’s most awaited festival ‘The Ganesh Utsav’ was started by Lokmanya Tilak, an Indian reformer, in 1857 as a symbol of strength and blessings for new beginnings. The festivities fill us with positivity and vigor and in turn help us spread this same vibe to the people around us. But alas, this vibe is only limited to humans with the least care to the environment.

Every year we are constantly being reminded of the environmental impact our festivals have on the ecosystem. There are plenty of articles on tips and tricks on how to celebrate Ganesh Utsav in a green way and yet have fun. And yet, almost all the time these are neglected. Here is why we need to be concerned about how we celebrate our festivals.

In the aftermath of the festivities, we often find our streets festooned with garbage. The immersion marks the end of the days-long celebration only to begin with a disaster for marine ecosystems. Cloudy water bodies, lumps of garbage piled on streets or floating on the river bodies in masses, all these cause the death of the marine ecosystem beginning with the fish and ending with toxic algal blooms. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Here comes the need for the Eco-Friendly Celebration.

Eco-friendly Ganesha’s are primarily made from biodegradable materials like clay or red soil and they are even colored with natural pigments. Sometimes seeds are infused so that your idol can act as a seed bomb post immersion. An eco-friendly celebration can be organized by using a few of these tips

  • Switching from decorative items to only floral décor

  • Use reusable cutlery instead of one-time-use plastic or Styrofoam plates and cups.

  • Keep the music system’s volume on check

  • Opt for homemade sweets

  • Use CFL lighting instead of fairy lights

  • Segregate the waste you generate

  • Convert the flower and wet waste to compost.

The market for eco-friendly idols is constantly innovating and people like Dattadri Kothur, the founder of Tree Ganesha, have termed it a long and worthy process. Some organizations like Sprouts seem to have found a way to tackle the problems of fish death by making idols with fish food. All of these prove that even though we are moving towards a greener outlook to festival celebration the pace at which we are moving will not help us in the long term. Festivals are a time for joy, let us strive to celebrate them responsibly so that our future generations can also live a happy and healthy life.

Monalisa Mukherjee, Programme Assistant.