Ganesh Chaturthi Special

A unique report from Agra in the advent of Ganesh Chaturthi 'Welcome the Eco Ganesh'

Creative carvers have taken a leap and are preparing Ganesh idols that are not only helping the environment but would be animal friendly too. Flour, frozen peas, organic colors etc are to be used for the making of the idols of Lord Ganesha which would be edible for fishes and other aquatic animals and would also dissolve in water without increasing the level of pollution.

With the advent of Ganesh Chaturthi environmentalist have begun to voice their concern about the water pollution that most of the rivers suffer every year due to immersed idols. Already exhausted Yamuna further fell apart due to grave danger of pollution during the festival season, alarms the river activists in Agra.

This is to mention that in the year 2014 Uttar Pradesh High Court ordered relaxation for the idol immersion ritual. However HC strictly ordered to remain in adherence of the norms set by the Central Pollution Board and the relaxation was only made for the River Ganga which flows plentifully as compared to Yamuna.

NGOs and various communities also came up with a various initiative to ensure that only eco friendly Ganesh idols go for the immersion. But this year the initiative turned public and the innovative thinkers planned to make the idols with such ingredient that would be eco-friendly as well as edible for the fishes and turtles.

Garima Saraswat, a housewife is creating an idol which has the ingredients like corn and vegetable mash. “The idol I am making this year will be prepared by the natural items and the colours I will use also be the natural substances like ‘Aata or Haldi’.”

“I read it all the times that how the colors and material of the idols are bad for the river and still we need to follow the customs. So why not we should use such items that leaves no pollution and will be rather helpful for the animals as well,” added Garima. 

Another Ganesh devotee Prabhat Vatsal admits that the concept is quite nice but speculates about the stability. “We worship lord Ganesha from Ganesh Chaturthi to Anant Chaudas. So for 10 days lord live in our homes. I am not sure that the vegetable or flour made Ganpati idol could last for 10 days.”

“The alternative could be that we install the lord idol and later on the last day made an idol for immersion, as an imitation of the actual idol,” added Prabhat.

Usually people prefer more decorative and colorful idols and that is not an issue. One can make the idols from wheat flour and dipped them in turmeric powder for the perfect yellow color. Edible colors could also be used in small amount.

Yamuna activist DK Joshi also supported the idea of flour made idol but he also mentioned that size of the idol is also significant. “Fishes or turtles cannot eat a large amount of flour. So other alternative should also be used.”

“Even the eco friendly Ganesh idol stops the flow of the river, but if people gather in larger number and only two or three pandals made in the city then two things can be handled. First is that less chemical or material would go in the river and it would socially fasten the city in a bond. People together pray for the 10 days and immerse the idol together,” added Joshi.

However Mahant Durgaprasad said, “People cannot worship one idol and immerse other. The ritual should be according to the Vedas. But can use ‘Maida’, rice or corn flour and made an idol which remain intact during the 10 days of the festival.”

PS : Edited Report published in Hindustan Time; West UP edition; on September 11



  1. Very good initiative. It's really important to speak about the pollution that occur after the immersion of Ganesha idols made of POP. People should come forward and take the initiative to use only eco-friendly Ganesha idols such as Water Purifying Ganesha,Fish Friendly Ganesha or Chocolate Ganesha to eliminate pollution.


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