My daughter Arpita has been celebrating Ganpati for years and it was her decision to have an eco-friendly Ganesha. Because of ecologically harmful materials like Plaster of Paris which is used for making the idol the sea gets polluted and the colours used cause illnesses.
These are very poisonous and when the idol is immersed in the water a lot of marine life gets destroyed. When you read about the stories in the media and start asking yourself what’s right and wrong and what’s the alternative then we think of an eco-friendly Ganesha.
This awareness was not there before but because of the media, people today are getting aware as we are are becoming health-conscious. Using clay idols for Ganapati puja and nature-based dyes for painting idols and proper disposal of idols and other puja material goes a long way towards preserving our environment.
When we talk about using bio-degradable materials we should think also about cutting down trees for cremation. We use half a tree for burning a body but is it right? This way we are destroying our natural habitat and forests. When you take an aerial view of the area there are more trees in Mumbai than the jungles.
Even the hills have become barren. And then we talk of global warming. We are trying to construct an electric crematorium in our village in Panvel so we don’t need wood for cremation. That’s why we decided we can’t clean entire India but at least we can clean up our own beach in Bandra Bandstand.
—As told to Upala KBR.