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Shocking Pollution during the Ganesh Festival

September 26, 2007

Yesterday was an important day. It was Anant Chaturthi the culmination of a ten-day long Ganesh Festival, one of the most important festivals of western India. It was a day of great joyousness and celebration…but it has an ugly side. The environmental damage it causes. Thousands of idols made from harmful materials like plaster of paris and toxic metals, coated with deadly paints containing mercury, cadmium, lead and carbon enter our water bodies. These idols, some of them gigantic in size, are immersed in lakes, rivers and the sea.

Just Mumbai’s sea takes in about 1.5 lakh (1 lakh = 100,000) idols every year! Is it any wonder then then oxygen levels in the water bodies fall by about 50 per cent immediately after the 10-day Ganeshutsav festival?

Not many care
Although there are organisations working towards creating awareness about the benefits of using eco-friendly idols and state governments do issue ‘guidelines’ about immersions, not much is happening on the ground. Although there are specially prepared tanks for immersions, people don’t prefer to use these, and few are interested in eco-friendly idols. It was heartening to see Harsha actually try and find out the situation on the ground. He trudged four hours in the hot sun in Pune to find out if people were using eco-friendly idols. His findings:

As I continued my search in the streets of Pune, I came across many idols-made of materials as varied as PoP, Silver, Tin Foil and Thermocol, but not the green Ganesha. That’s what I was looking for..an idol made of clay and a pandal that used eco-friendly materials…I must have walked for at least 20 km, clicking hundreds of pix on the way. I could not find a single idol made of clay, nor a pandal which didn’t use the papi materials – PoP and Thermocol.

Well, finally he did find a green pandal, but no idol. This then is the reality. No one cares. And we are not just talking of the masses here. I have tried to convince several people I know and while they agreed with me in theory, none of them actually went and bought an eco-friendly idol. In fact one lady told me point blank: When there is a law against it we’ll do it! This even though they clearly see the water bodies around them getting polluted. I don’t believe this is due to religious reasons, but due to apathy and lack of civic sense.

What actually happens?
Here are the results of a scientific study done on a body of water in Andhra Pradesh, the Hussainsagar Lake. After examining the water before and after immersion the scientists found that the concentration of substances like calcium, magnesium, molybdenum and silicon concentrations increased significantly. Also, it was found that concentrations of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury had increased. Metals like lead and mercury are particularly worrisome as they are dangerous to health and can damage the heart, kidneys, liver, circulatory system and central nervous system.

Besides polluting the water, they reach humans via the food chain, when humans consume fish and other sea-food. If the fish survive that is! Because hundreds of fish are found dead after the immersions.

The picture on the right is of a beach right after an immersion and that is what the tide has brought in. The site from where I took the photo has other very vivid pictures…if you want to see them just click on the picture.

If people don’t listen, we need the laws
The problem is that politicians don’t want to take tough action as they are afraid of upsetting the public as this is a religious issue. But I think it isn’t. Traditionally, we used mud idols and natural colours. These polluting idols are a modern invention and nothing to do with religion!

No one is banning immersion. Or denouncing it. To put in place laws to make it compulsory to make idols out of an eco-friendly material should not hurt religious sentiment. All we will be doing is going back to the way the festival was traditionally celebrated. An information campaign to this effect will go a long way in educating those who think that using poisonous materials are what God commanded or that this was how it was traditionally done. I am sure that a public information campaign which enumerates the amount of life that is destroyed will impact a lot of people as quite a few Hindus are vegetarians who are against killing of animals even for food.

I wonder if it is a powerful lobby of businessmen and those in the trade of manufacturing and selling these poisonous idols who are making the politicians drag their feet on this one. Because in this case it is only the politicians who can help us – with laws.

Update: I am adding this link which talks of the dangers to flora and fauna because the idols don’t dissolve. They go to the river bed and affect the plant life. I thought this was pretty obvious and had therefore not added this link before but from some comments I realise that people are not aware of this fact.

(Both pics have been linked to the originals)

Related Reading: Visual pollution during the Ganesh Festival
Where have all the Sparrows gone?
You are eating GM food but you don’t know it
India is pesticide country!

More: Pesticides poisoning India
Clotheslines are an eco-friendly way to dry clothes
A way to tackle sound pollution
Hoardings galore in India!
Clothes contain chemicals that could harm you

Other articles on “Environment”

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71 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2007 8:57 am

    Nita, excellent post. I also wrote about it earlier today on my blog, though mine is a bit hopeful, probably because I’m sitting so far away :) and don’t know the reality there first-hand.

    Would you know how long the education campaign has been going on? If it’s only a couple of years, then we shouldn’t lose hope just yet and in fact, continue educating people, as it is a monumental task to bring about a change, especially when it involves religion. It probably took a decade or two for the situation to reach where it is today, so it’ll take time and momentum to reverse it. I’m also wondering if it’s possible to file a PIL regarding this.

  2. September 26, 2007 9:01 am

    This is one example where the old tradition of mud idols was actually better and eco-friendly, whereas the modern one is not.

  3. September 26, 2007 9:20 am

    The environmentalists have been shouting themselves hoarse for years….almost 6-7 yearsI think because I have found articles on the net from about 2001. But I am sure it started before that as well, although it was not that organised. Last year I had seen that there were several articles on this given prominent space in newspapers…but this year I have not found it so.
    In any case we shouldn’t lose hope because this campaign may have been going on for years but its not been strong enough. I am sure one can file a PIL.

  4. wishtobeanon permalink
    September 26, 2007 9:24 am

    When I looked at the pictures, felt very sad. Thank you for posting this.
    How do we file a PIL?

  5. September 26, 2007 9:29 am

    Its a simple procedure. One needs a lawyer who does the paperwork, but one has to be in India.

  6. September 26, 2007 9:56 am

    1) plaster of paris is gypsum…. which is not harmful…
    2) the drop in oxygen level is because of the flowers, fruits and other organic offerings that usually accompany these offerings.

  7. September 26, 2007 9:58 am

    Wouldn’t it be great if people like Vedanti actually issued a proclamation calling for clay statues? I can dream, can’t I? :)

  8. September 26, 2007 10:03 am

    Ankur, I don’t know enough about PoP, but does it dissolve easily in water? And is gypsum in water not harmful? Just curious.
    I think many of the chemicals come from the toxic colors and dyes used to paint the statues.

  9. September 26, 2007 10:30 am

    About Plaster of Paris and the safety issues, people can check out the following links, and please remember that all minerals including calcium have safety limits!! We cannot put things in the water and upset the natural balance as excess of anything is poisonous. Clay would be far more eco-friendly as after all, its mud:
    1) From the Wiki
    2) answers.com
    3) The Hindu
    4) Idol making

  10. September 26, 2007 12:06 pm

    calcium sulphate is insoluble in water…. even if you make a tank out of plaster or paris.. the calcium/magnesium content of it won’t be any different from what is present in normal water (this is true as long as you use calcium sulphate and not calcium chloride)

    about the safety hazards of plaster of paris…
    1) exothermic reaction: this is valid only at the time of manufacturing the paste.. not at the time of immersion.
    2) carcinogen : indian plaster of paris is luckily free of asbestos.. so this concern is also invalid…

    all said and done.. i too agree that the chemical paints and flowers r a serious threat to the environment.

  11. September 26, 2007 12:30 pm

    “The Battle of Kurukshetra” – It’s well said on “ultrabrown” website.. result of this disaster is well captured in those pictures..

    I feel Phatakas (fire crackers) are too much than this.. Whole world needs to act on such disasters happening on this planet.

  12. Shefaly permalink
    September 26, 2007 3:24 pm

    “Because in this case it is only the politicians who can help us – with laws.”

    Nita: There is no link between what people ingest unwittingly through even potable water, in countries where stringent laws exist.

    In London, drinking water contains amongst other things traces of the pill, cocaine (highest concentration found in Rome’s Tiber), remnants of fertilisers and all sorts. Richard Dawkins recently said there is a finite possibility that every time we drink water, it contains “at least one molecule that passed through Oliver Cromwell’s bladder”.

    In the US, following the FQPA being passed, the EPA bears responsibility of minimising total exposure to toxic chemicals. The enforcement is hampered by technical capabilities of measurement..

    If you are saying that laws in India are inadequate that is a different thing (and in which case I am sure we will all benefit from knowing more about them).

    But if you are saying passing new laws will change the status of pollution in water, I have to disagree…

    Thanks.

  13. September 26, 2007 3:50 pm

    Hey Shefaly, my statement about laws is about the issue in question! The laws which are needed are to ban immersion of idols during Ganesh festivals which are not eco-friendly. There are no such laws here. Somehow I thought this was clear. In any case I said ‘help,’ not ‘solve.’
    However I cannot agree with you that passing of a law will not change the status of pollution in water during Ganeshutsav. I don’t see how it is possible to get anywhere without passing of laws. A law is the start…enforcement I am sure is another issue.

  14. September 26, 2007 5:05 pm

    hey nita
    dont the police stop u from taking pics?

    i just uploaded the pics in the same post that is after u left ur comment the head ache has still not gone after a saridon!

    plus it isnt as much business as political party workers in the less reputed mandals which make a lot of money through donations the mandal close by that i talked abt they would openly steal Ec a few yrs ago !!
    ive taken videos too just thinking if it is worth uploading

  15. September 26, 2007 5:12 pm

    ankur but doesnt it wreak havok on the fish and sensitive marine ecosystem?
    and it takes a lot more time to fragment

    what about chemical paint?

  16. September 26, 2007 5:23 pm

    Prax, these pics here are not taken by me and are linked to the originals…maybe I should have mentioned that they are linked. …I will do so now .
    In any case, taking pics is allowed. There is nothing illegal in that.
    That point about making money by mandals is good point. I was thinking of it too. These mandals make tons of money and if they have to use eco friendly ganeshas probably they will not be able to make such brightly coloured idols as they make now. I am not exactly sure about that but I do know that a lot of money is involved.

  17. wishtobeanon permalink
    September 26, 2007 6:05 pm

    Wonder if anyone among the readers of this blog would consider filing a PIL (who is currently living in India)?
    It would be a great favour for the Indians!

  18. September 26, 2007 7:01 pm

    Very good article of a complex situation.

    I read all your posts although I might not comment.

  19. September 26, 2007 7:12 pm

    Nita, instead of banning immersion of eco-harmful idols, wouldn’t it be better to ban it at the production (of idols) end?

  20. September 26, 2007 7:36 pm

    I agree with Amit – the banning of toxic paints and making them unavailable would go far in redressing this problem. Maybe the abandoning of plaster and plastic idols should also be banned. It may take a repeated change in practice, for a number of years to have this become common practice, however making toxic raw materials difficult and expensive to access would help greatly in shifting customs to more ecologically aware ones. We have a miniature Ganesh made out of brass. It is an old one from a personal shrine, and while it may not be brightly colourful it symbolizes in a quietly beautiful way the joyousness of the Ganesh celebrations. G

  21. September 26, 2007 8:39 pm

    Bharath, I do agree that every human being on this planet should be concerned with environmental issues, not just in India.

    Brian. Thanks. :)

    Amit, that would be wonderful wouldn’t it!! Ban the darned things!! Ofcourse some would get through in the black market, but the incidence would reduce.

    Suburban, nice to hear from you after a long time. :) Actually I think brass idols look very beautiful and they can be used for a symbolic immersion. I know of one family which does it. They use the same idol every year.
    The other point you made, about making the materials expensive is a good idea. In fact the govt. could perhaps impose a tax on any finished idol which is made from synthetic material. So many things can be done, but as of now there’s been nothing from the government except advise and guidelines!

  22. September 26, 2007 9:10 pm

    great article – nita! A refreshing look at the issues behind how we celebrate religious festivals.

  23. September 26, 2007 11:43 pm

    nita last yr i had a cop yelling at me not to take pics at girgaum!
    i dont get the ban idea
    rassi bombs or laxmi bombs are banned
    still on ananth chaturti there was a 60 yr old idiot who burst the cracker right in front of a cop jeep almost 3 feet away from us still the cops just went past as if nothing happened

    id say make raw materials so expensive that they arnt accessible bt easier said than done

    put legislation through pil / court rout cause this is a holy cow and even the most secular cong politician wont interfere
    better still cancel the registration of errant mandals so that they respect laws

    sadly the supreme courts deadline order is routinely flouted
    this is contempt of court plain and simple

    the big ganpatis or the rajas did obey laws
    this is the first yr when fort cha raja ganpati got disco lighting and dj speaker system with them switching it on intermitantly that too at 3AM which is shocking !
    lalbaugcha raja got a huge kirloskar ligt cum generator truck
    with near blinding lights like most other big ganpatis which is also the new fad aiding light pollution

    Prax, here in Mumbai I take pictures all the time, even of cops! No one says anything – Nita.

  24. Shefaly permalink
    September 26, 2007 11:46 pm

    “However I cannot agree with you that passing of a law will not change the status of pollution in water during Ganeshutsav. I don’t see how it is possible to get anywhere without passing of laws. A law is the start…enforcement I am sure is another issue.”

    Nita, thanks for your note.

    Laws or regulations are passed when market mechanisms are seen to fail a large part of society. In the US system, public and private laws make the distinction whereas legal systems similar to the British one do not. In this case, the problem afflicts a relatively minor % of India’s population so public laws can hardly be justified.

    So it really depends on whether your framing of India is as a socialistic society or as a liberal society based on free markets or somewhere in the middle in which case one has to ask how high a priority this issue is (since parliamentary time is a scarce resource).

    Also a law which does not think of and built into it enforcement strategies is doomed to fail and thereby become more blog fodder. Enforcement is ESSENTIAL for a law to make any difference towards correcting the market failure it intended to address in the first place..

    Either way I am not sure more laws are the answer in this case.

  25. September 27, 2007 12:32 am

    Can any Mumbaikar explain the “mandal” and what its function is, since I’m unfamiliar. Some background info will be helpful. Who runs/organizes the “mandals”?

  26. oemar permalink
    September 27, 2007 4:48 am

    Beautiful article…. I had once visited Mumbai during this festival and the lighting and jubilation was amazing… didnt know the beaches looked like that in the morning.. it is of serious concern…

  27. September 27, 2007 5:24 am

    mandal is a group or an outfit basically an organisation of people, running an institution or a charity or an event

  28. September 27, 2007 7:22 am

    Shefaly I fail to understand you. water pollution affects everyone!!! the sea, the rivers the lakes, they are all getting poluted!! and this affects millions, not just in Maharashtra but also AP.
    so i have no idea what you mean!
    What does being a socialist society or a a free market have to do with this?
    Frankly your comment went completely above my head.

  29. Shefaly permalink
    September 27, 2007 11:28 am

    Nita: Sorry it was confusing. I try to clarify my points below one by one:

    1. In a governance system, where markets are deemed incapable of solving problems, laws are the first step. Examples would be welfare states where the government makes nearly all decisions affecting populations.

    2. If there is a problem that affects many, then in a free market, somebody would find a way to make money from solving the problem such as by producing paints that are bio-degradable, non-toxic etc.

    If such paints do not exist, one could say this is a market failure because clearly nobody sees a profit opportunity in solving the problem. If the demand for such paints does not exist, this further shows that this is a problem of commons, gone out of hand, where everyone abuses a common resource but feels no need to do anything to repair the damage etc.

    So from both points of view, it appears that laws are needed.

    3. In my first note, I asked if such laws do not already exist in India.

    If they do not already exist, then there are possible explanations why.

    One could be that in law-making, given the fact that parliamentary time is not in free supply, legislators prioritise issues. May be pollution from Ganpati Visarjan is not a major problem on that list? There may be reasons why this is how it is. So concerned populations may want to get organised and raise awareness of the issue.

    But if laws do exist and this polluting thing goes on, then enforcement is the bottleneck.

    Enforcement may be tricky in this context because any intervention could be seen as an erosion of religious freedom.

    So net net, I am not sure more laws are the answer. Better enforcement of existing laws may be a better idea.

    Also experiences of nations, where stringent laws exist, the problem does not go away. Enforceability renders them a bit paralysed too.

    Does this work? :-)

  30. September 27, 2007 1:23 pm

    Thanks for a very well-researched article. I was shocked to see the photos in the linked article. In spite of spending most of my life in Mumbai and Pune, I’d never seen this before – of course, my first preference during this festival is to go away from it as far as possible.

    A more immediate impact in Pune is of the appalling noise pollution. Pune may be 1/10th the size of Mumbai, but has the same no. of mandals! There are mandals and mandals lined up on both sides of the street like shops, each blaring their own music, with the cacophony of sound capable of driving anyone insane! (Sorry for digressing from your post topic; I couldn’t help vent it out).

    I am a cynic regarding any legislation even remotely concerning religion. If a ban on plastic bags doesn’t have any effect here, when plastic bags have nothing to do with religion, thinking of laws regarding Ganesh idols is a far shot.

    A very important question came to my mind after one of the things you’ve pointed out: would it be wise to avoid sea-food for a few weeks/couple of months after Ganesh festival immersions?

  31. September 27, 2007 1:50 pm

    Shefaly ofcourse enforcement is bottleneck, no doubt about it. but unless there are laws to enforce the problem becomes redundant!

    Mahendra, Pune is pretty bad and I spent some school years there…namely my ICSE year! And we lived in the heart of Pune and the scars will never go away….probably my words are sounding rather extreme, but really, I suffered as did many others. In fact I think any sort of pollution is a crime!! I am thankful that I am in Mumbai now, that too in a part which is quiet. I generally avoid Pune during the Ganesh festival, even for a few hours!
    About avoiding sea-food, you took the words out of my mind! We do that.
    About enforcement, yes we need to improve our enforcement and I think we fail on every count, whether it dowry or plastic bags. But that doesn’t mean the laws should not exist. I know you didn’t say that…but just making my point! btw, welcome back. :) I saw the return post on my surfer but it was late and was too lazy to actually visit. You will see me there soon. :)

  32. Shefaly permalink
    September 27, 2007 2:05 pm

    “but unless there are laws to enforce the problem becomes redundant!”

    Ah that is what I asked in my first comment. Are there no laws already in place?

    I find it hard to believe there are no existing laws against mass scale, deliberate water pollution. How else were some folk chasing Coke for polluting water (I think, in Kerala)?

  33. September 27, 2007 2:22 pm

    Shefaly, I did read that…but somehow it didn’t impact me…I sort of forgot that you stay far away! Sorry about that.
    About Coke, it was like Coke using polluted water…that was what Coke said because some tests showed that Coke had way above permissible levels of pesticides. They said we can’t do a thing, your ground water is polluted…anyway that has died down now.
    As for our laws the only laws we keep updating are those which concern reservations!! We didn’t even have a law against child abuse till early this year!

  34. Shefaly permalink
    September 27, 2007 4:54 pm

    Thanks, Nita. I know the web makes it a global village..

    BTW it is interesting that 3 blogs I have started following recently – yours, Rambodoc’s and Mahendra’s – are all written by native Marathi speakers (I think Rambodoc is too). That was my first language and then we moved cities and I forgot it all, as I was the only one who spoke it in my family. I just noticed :-)

  35. September 27, 2007 7:27 pm

    Shefaly, you raise an interesting angle. The way I see it, if the problem doesn’t impact people in a more direct way (or if the negative impact is cumulative and takes 10-12 years to show up), then it becomes more difficult for them to make a change. Also, in many cases, change from top-down helps. I think rediff did a feature on famous celebrities using green Ganesh idols.

    As for water-based paint which is not as toxic as oil-based paint, if a big business is already making and selling oil-based paints, it’ll take some effort and justification for them to switch to water-based paints – sometimes willingly, sometimes through laws or market forces. If a small entrepreneur comes up with the idea, it’s not that difficult for the big businesses to either
    a. lower the prices of their own products temporarily, and
    b. swamp the media with glossy ads
    to undercut the sales of the entrepreneur.

    I think education is an important component, and maybe if the cost of pollution is internalized into the cost of statues, then people will probably switch much quickly. Though unfortunately, the way economies everywhere are structured, the market forces don’t include costs of pollution in their costs – those are paid by citizens through their taxes. :)

    The way I see it, it’s important to include the people, mandals and idol makers into this process, and it’ll probably take another 6-10 years for all/majority of the statues to go green, unless there’s an ecological disaster linked to idols that forces the hand much sooner.

  36. Sudhir Jatar permalink
    September 29, 2007 9:31 pm

    Another aspect of Ganesh festival is the loss that the nation suffers due to the erection of shamians by digging holes in the roads. Once holes are dug, these are never properly sealed. In the rains, water seeps through to the foundations and no amount of repair can undo the damage until the entire road is relaid. When the roads are potholed in the monsoons, these are the very people duly backed by the councillors who blame the civic administration. Hence, Pune Municipal Commissioner said that the erring Mandals would be fined.
    The Commissioner gave in under political pressure.
    The Mandals have no dearth of funds because they are funded by the politicians. They are ready to pay as much as Rs. 1900 per sq m – a large sum – for damaging the roads. This is not going to solve the problem because the damage to the road is more permanent. This is also a bad precedent because it would turn out like compounding fees for traffic offences, which today’s youth gladly pays and continues to violate traffic rules.
    Lastly, the Mandals made a show that they did not know that they are not to dig holes in the roads. One of the Mandals, Natu Wada Mitra Mandal, is not digging the road to erect the stage or shamiana.
    Although the noise pollution was much less this year in Pune, it still violated the SC judgement.
    The malaise is much deeper ingrained by the politicians in our psyche, especially of the not so enlightened ones.

    Thanks for the info Sudhir – Nita.

  37. Y.Shivakanth permalink
    October 4, 2007 6:57 pm

    please do follow the debate at the site http://trak.in/Tags/Business/2007/09/19/polluting-ganesh-festival-idols
    its too long to post the complete thread here.Do keep the discussion alive with your views and comments

  38. priti jadhav permalink
    October 5, 2007 8:39 am

    Devotion and faith is only one aspect. What is of more cocern is the question of pollution.

  39. parul madan permalink
    October 17, 2007 9:56 pm

    very beautifully illustratd….especially da imgs….dey r v-pathetic

  40. January 21, 2008 8:23 am

    Hello everyone

    This conversation is of real interest to me because I have been part of three solutions to the problem. As a member of the Kalpavriksh Environment Education Group, Pune I have been leading a campaign on festivals – you can read more about it here. http://www.kalpavriksh.org/f1/f1.4/esa%20ganesh

    Realising that simply education was not enough and that people needed actual alternatives that they could buy I set up a company to produce these alternatives. http://www.e-coexist.com

    For Ganesh Chaturthi we worked with some traditional craftsmen in the village of Pen to create completely biodegradable idols, using clay and natural paints as well. You can see these at http://220.226.204.214:9673/ecoexist/products/ganesh-chaturthi/natural-ganesha-idols

    We have had a fantastic response to our efforts in Pune and are hoping to scale up our operations alongside continuing to educate people.

    I believe that creative solutions need to be proposed to people and then change is possible.

    Look forward to your comments.

  41. Sourabh permalink
    August 14, 2008 1:52 pm

    Excellent Work there!!!!! Keep it up…..
    My name is sourabh and i am part of an org called Yugpath based in Pune,Maharahtra.
    We are trying to make a change…….We are currently targeting the river pollution caused by the Ganesh Festival……we are looking for some pics about the dirty rivers etc…i wonder if u do have some pics in this category……..Pls can u help us??
    my id id funky_sourabh(at)yahoo.co.in
    Thanx and anyways good writing……..

  42. August 14, 2008 2:28 pm

    Happy to meet you Sourabh. I will try and see if I have any decent pictures of this, but I suspect I don’t, not of pollution caused by the Ganesh festival in Pune. I will try and take some the next time I go to Pune, and if I have any with me now, I will email them to you. I hope your efforts are successful and kudos to you. Anyone reading this, if you have pictures, send them to Sourav
    Thanks.

  43. navayan permalink
    September 7, 2008 5:04 pm

    all know that the festival of ganesha sarted with balagangadhar thilak, to mobalise people agaist britishers but this became one nuisence thing in the country, they keeping idols of this god on every roads of narrow gallies, and using loud speakers, and some anti social elements collecting huge amounts on the name of this festival,…

    at last this fhaestival became one life and death issue to the common man

    i will show a sollution for the problems created by the lord ganesha, in my next mail

  44. ashwin permalink
    November 9, 2008 9:47 pm

    nice article………

  45. January 5, 2010 2:19 pm

    if we use the small size of ganesh murti then we can reduce reduce the polltion which is ocour & we should not use thermacol for the decoreation instead ofthat we shoulduse paper 4 that

  46. Vinay permalink
    June 24, 2010 8:43 pm

    It Is Good But Festivals are important

  47. July 21, 2010 1:02 pm

    i liked wat u have written i agree with your laws

  48. akash permalink
    August 14, 2010 8:44 am

    the people alos give sacrifice of fishes to ganpati indirectly.the policemen are scared to take action because it will hurt the imotions of people and finally lead to conflict.

  49. September 18, 2010 11:07 pm

    hi
    we have started a campaign to stop the immersion of plaster of paris idols in water this year. our idea is that if the Reverent Gurus step in and give a call to the people to stop immersing then the people will definitely listen. we are doing this by sending messages to the gurus’ websites in thousands. So with this we are attracting their attention. We are sure that the Gurus will respond by tomorrow with a discussion and later by an announcement to stop immersion immediately. We hope they will also suggest the necessary prayaschitta and procedure for disposing the idols in a safe way. We need intelligent people like you to take part in the effort by sending a few messages to various gurus and also by encouraging others to do so.
    the message is supposed to be simple like this.
    with a title
    “request to swamijis to save hinduism by discouraging wrong ways of celebrating hindu festivals. ”
    body
    “The innocent masses are immersing harmful plaster of paris idols into water
    in the name of hindu religion. you great ones know that this is nt our true religion or way of celebrating Ganesh festival. you and you alone can stop this malpractice. Please swamijis you must all come forward in the media and give a call to the people to stop this practice.
    Otherwise this practice will go on for a few more years and even if it stops . it will be at the expense of the reputation of hinduism. So please respond by holding a country wide discussion with all the main swamijis of India and then making a media statement to the people to stop the malpractise and by informing the people onthe correct way of celebrating hindu festivals. dhanyavaad”
    if a few hundred people send this message with the title. then if it happens to many swamijis then they will certainly get together and start a discussion. So please already many are sending the message. you also send the message.

  50. shikha jethwani permalink
    August 1, 2011 9:22 pm

    it is shocking people can leave the idols…..by stamping on them without bothering abt it

  51. KOMAL DHUMAL permalink
    August 9, 2011 5:05 pm

    really our 11 days ka prayers are useless……………………SHORIE GOD…………..!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. Sanchi permalink
    September 2, 2011 7:48 pm

    I like your article Nita. I agree and have to say that God can be there in our hearts and minds. One does not need to openly proclaim worship in GOD with idols and immersing them in water. And also, why this happens only once a year. worship for god for that matter should be regardless of what time of the year. WHy only during that part of the year big mandaps, big loud pooja’s , decoration, flowers visits, queues are done. I would rather taking a peaceful visit to Siddhivinayak or any temple for that matter to display my worship.
    Another important aspect is the noise levels. they are pretty high compared to the acceptable decible levels for any human ear. I am now in the US and in the past 7 years had surgical correction of both my ears becasue I couldnt hear anymore. Being more loud doesnt mean more worship – I wish people could understand that.

    Thanks for your comment Sanchi. very relevant today when I am surrounded by deafening sounds for drums from so-called educated people. People standing in a group right below my window in my colony for over 2 hours, just beating on loud drums in front of poor Ganpati Bappa. The sound is deafening, and it is impossible to hear the television even if it is the loudest! The thought came to my mind that there is no way that Ganpati would ever bless these people for whom display and troubling other people is all that matters. These uncouth and selfish people totally lack culture and basic human decency, but they proclaim and shout loudly, deafeningly “Ganpati bappa morya.” Shame on them. I think you are lucky indeed to be away – Nita.

  53. September 3, 2011 9:46 am

    Sourabh, I have put up some pictures on my blog, if you want, I can email you. I have also asked my friends to email me more this season.

    http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_maharashtra-pollution-board-promotes-eco-friendly-ganesh-idols_1402147

    This DNA articles talks about the new material that invented for idol making. Although Sadu Mati is good, its density is pretty high.

  54. Indira ajitkumar permalink
    September 6, 2011 10:58 am

    thanks guys for talking on a huge topic like this im just 11 yr old i m using my mums account i would like to spread this through internet

  55. Harsha.A.Sodhi permalink
    September 6, 2011 1:33 pm

    yaa really indian festivals bring us 2gether but also harm our environment so we should take care that while celebrating festivals withn lot of hopes nd wishes ur environment doesnt get affected….!!!!!!

  56. Mina permalink
    September 11, 2011 8:51 pm

    indians by nature are a pityless, lazy lot. Recently I was a participant in the Anna hazare campaign held in my city. While walking I saw other participants snacking and drinking water out of plastic bottles and casually discarding the waste and empty bottles o n the streets. One cant always blame the authorities. This is basic common civic sense, one learns right from school days. We could fight for tougher anti corruption laws but how about citizens get serious about lesser civic issues too. A little on each individuals part will go a long way..

  57. somya shrivastava permalink
    October 23, 2011 5:24 pm

    wonder article………… i appreciate your work.

  58. Atharv Desai permalink
    November 13, 2011 12:44 pm

    this is been realy & probabaly the biggest issue infront of indeans because we are pretty religious minded persons who always keep our religious practices above any natural calamities which causes greatloss of not only environment but also of us as well.

  59. Aakash rathod permalink
    November 19, 2011 2:00 pm

    This is very bad act by a man. Man always think for his family and them.but dont any time he think by nature and invirement.

  60. akhil madankar permalink
    February 4, 2012 6:38 pm

    we are need to try increses improtant of environment.

  61. Ankita permalink
    February 17, 2012 9:16 pm

    we really need 2 ban these poP idols. I thnk thre’s a new upcomin material for making ganesh murtis by miing clay wid fig tree juice,paper N glue… N it dissolves in water in even less thn 15 mins..!

  62. jyoti permalink
    March 30, 2012 12:09 pm

    we have to control pollution because it is a very huge problem

  63. Vaibhav Shinde, Velapur permalink
    June 20, 2012 9:41 am

    An excellent article on the present scenario of Ganesh festival. I think people will learn something from it to protect our environment while celebrating festivals and preserving their sacredness.

  64. anurag chavan permalink
    November 12, 2012 1:52 pm

    this is one of the best abtrasct abt thise kind of issues… people goes under religeon bt during making it they may nt understand the hazardous they provided to environment..

  65. anurag chavan permalink
    November 12, 2012 1:54 pm

    only the ganpati visarjan is not main reason…. but the celebrating point of of view makes matter…of every festival…

  66. pavan nankani permalink
    September 23, 2013 11:48 pm

    this is not fare .this is not reason of pollution .there are many reason like dead bodies of animals, wastage

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