With the coronavirus pandemic likely to cast a long shadow on the eagerly anticipated Ganeshotsav, this year, Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik has requested the state government to issue directions ensuring that the celebrations are a 100 per cent green affair. In his letter to State Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, Sarnaik has sought directions mandating utsav mandals (organisers) and individuals to use idols which are either made of shaadu (clay) or paper pulp. This, according to him, will automatically turn the festivities and immersion ritual into a 100 per cent eco-friendly affair.
“The lockdown has been imposed to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, but all these distancing and isolation measures have also had a positive effect on the climate and environment. As 'Shri Ganesh' signifies the start of something, good and positive, we should rethink our ways and initiate 100 per cent eco-friendly initiatives while celebrating this Ganeshotsav,” said Sarnaik.
At the same time, he has also sought compensation for sculptors who have already readied Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols, so that they do not suffer losses. It should be noted that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has already imposed a ban on the use of PoP for manufacturing idols, to avoid polluting water bodies during their immersion. This is apart from the restrictions imposed on the use of thermocol and plastic in decorations. Environmentalists believe that the eco-friendly move will go a long way in protecting the marine ecosystem.This year, Ganesh Chaturthi is on August 22 while Anant Chaturdashi (visarjan day) will be September 1.