Free Press Journal

Celebrities take the lead for eco-friendly Ganesh visarjans

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It’s festive time in the economic capital of India, time for wistful colours, rolling drum beats, echoing Ganapti chants, chaotic queues, and, everyone’s favorite modaks’- these are the just few things we love about this festival.

An Indian Hindu devotee transports an idol of the elephant-headed Hindu god, Lord Ganesha in his car, for Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai on September 5, 2015. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival, a popular 11-day religious festival which is annually celebrated across India, runs this year from September 5-15, and culminates with the immersion of idols of Ganesh in the Arabian Sea and local water bodies. / AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPE

An Indian Hindu devotee transports an idol of the elephant-headed Hindu god, Lord Ganesha in his car, for Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai on September 5, 2015. /  AFP/ PUNIT PARANJPE

As the first day of this festival has passed, it’s time to bid adieu to one and half days Ganesha. Ganesh devotees will soon be gearing for the immersion of Lord Ganesha. The making of Lord Ganesha’s idol and immersing it into water signifies the harsh reality, that we are nothing more than soil and we came from it and one day will immerse in it


As we get more environmentally conscious most of us have transitioned to using biodegradable or ecofriendly idols versus the ones made from POP. Along with using innovative methods to create idols, our devotees have also come up with inventive methods of immersing it as well. We check with our celebrities what they are doing, so take a cue!!

Also Read: Ganesh Chaturthi: List of artificial ponds to ensure eco-friendly immersions

However there were many people who opted for idols made by plaster of Paris instead of clay as they are easy to handle, whereas clay idols are bit heavy to hold. A Ganapati idol made by plaster of Paris is not bio-degradable. The paint used to make them beautiful is toxic and harmful to the marine life. With this thing in mind, various organisations and individuals keep trying to make the festival more eco-friendly. The immersion process of Lord Ganesha will begin from September 6, when one and half days Ganapati will proceed towards their home. The making of Lord Ganesha’s idol and immersing it into water signifies the harsh reality, that we are nothing more than soil and we came from it and one day will immerse in it.

Government steps towards eco-friendly Ganapati festival:

Government is also taking their steps forward. Government every year creates artificial tank so that it will be easy to immerse the idols into natural bodies. Government is creating awareness to make people realize the importance of Nature and spreading awareness of Ganapati visarjan effect.

Government since long time is saying to opt for natural (shadu) clay which is eco friendly and immerse it into bucket of water at home as it takes several hours to dissolve in water. Idols made from clay also take several times to dissolve into water. There is also a permanent way that to one can use idol made up of metal such as copper, brass every year. Today there are numerous societies who are organising immersion in an artificial tank rather than going to sea or rivers so that our rivers, lakes or beaches won’t get polluted. It is also good for the Ganapati who are made from plaster of Paris. People who are getting PoP Ganesh idols are requested to immerse it into the artificial ponds. The after effects of Ganapati festival to a Mumbaikar is not very unknown, we see Ganesh idols lying besides the beaches after the immersion as they are made from plaster of Paris. Hence it is everyone’s responsibility to respect the God even after their immersion too. Such practices should be employed in a larger scale.

The government themselves trying as per their efforts to save the environment but there are very few celebrities who celebrate the festival in eco friendly manner. They brings home an eco friendly Ganesh idol and also do the immersion in an eco friendly way.

Raqesh Bapat 
Raqesh Vashisth, a television and Marathi film actor sculpts his own Ganesh idols at home every year and immerses it at home in water tub.

“I started making Ganesh idols since childhood. We keep one and half-day Ganpati at home every year, it is a tradition started by my grand-father.”

About the idol making Raqesh said, “At our old home in Pune there was broken structure of temple where a man used to make idols, one day my mother discovered him and asked me to go to him and learn the art as I was interested in sculpting. After my school I used to go to the man and started watching and observing his talent, he used to make beautiful idols. Later I started making my own small idols.”

“It will be 10 years that I’m making Ganesh idols. After the festival we immerse it into a tub at our building’s terrace and after the idols gets dissolve, pour the water in the garden. It is like giving back to the nature what you got.”

Swapnil Joshi
Popular Marathi film and television actor, who is remembered as Ramanand Sagar’s young ‘Krishna’ has brought home Ganapati idol made of ‘Panchdhatu’. Every year the environment love Swapnil Joshi do the symbolic immersion of his panchdhatu Ganapati at his residence. With this there will be no harm to the environment and also will be an inner peace that their favorite God is staying with them.

It is humble requests to all Ganesh devotees to celebrate the festival with full of joy but also take care to not affect the environment adversely. Take safety precautions to avoid the freak accidents during the processions and at the sea-shore. Celebrating the Ganesh festival is not about how big your idol is or how expensive your decoration is. It is about religious sentiments, emotion and feelings in your heart. One should celebrate and enjoy the festival without causing damage to the environment.

Sameer Dharmadhikari

Hindi and Marathi television actor Sameer Dharmadhikari who is currently seen in Color’s Chakarvartin Ashok Samrat as ‘King Bindusar’ brings home one and half day ganapati. The idol is craved by his wife Aparna. As for the visarjan he’ll immerse the idol in a bucket of water at home. Sameer keeps the idol at home for one year and immerses it into a bucket of water next year.