One of the issues associated with the celebration of Ganesha Utsav is the pollution of the natural resources, especially in the recent years. Initially people unwittingly followed practices that were in harmony with the nature and resulted in minimal or no pollution at all . However in the last 10-12 years the the way people celebrate Ganpati Utsav has changed and this has resulted in a rise in the pollution index. So here are a few pointers and suggestions that should result in reducing the pollution during Ganesh Utsav . Ganesh Idol . In the recent years the trend of using Lord Ganesh statues made of plaster of Paris is on rise because plaster of Paris is light weight and cheap. However Plaster of Paris has a very low dissolution rate and hence the idols made of plaster of Paris will also dissolve slowly. It also contains other toxic materials. So Never use the Ganpati idols made of Plaster of Paris . Instead we can use Ganesh idols made of natural, recyclable,biodegradable materials like Shaadu(Natural Clay) or paper pulp. Insist that Ganpati idols should be painted using natural colours only. If you have a statue made of natural materials but paint it with artificial colours, it is still going to cause pollution because artificial colors contain toxic materials and when these colurs dissolve in water after immersion they are going to cause water pollution . Decoration. One of the major components in Ganesha Utsav decoration is thermocol (stretch polystyrene) and after plaster of Paris it is one of the major sources of pollution . Also avoid use of plastic in decoration. Use Wood, paper , clothes and other recyclable and bio degradable materials for decoration . Immersion . During immersion the garlands of Bappa are strewn on the shores and banks of water bodies . Do not throw away Nirmalya(floral offerings to the Lord) on the streets and dumpsters, instead put it in a composite pit .After a few days these garlands in the composite pit will give you very rich natural fertilizer for your garden. If you are not comfortable putting Lords garlands in a composite pit and have to immerse the garlands along Ganpati statue , use newspaper and not polythene plastic bags to hold the garlands. Instead of immersing idols in the natural water bodies, we can create artificial water bodies like small lake or tanks that will be used only for immersion of idols. Noise Pollution . With the advent of sound systems with insane decibel levels, the noise pollution has gone up many folds . Mindless film songs(that have no relation whatsoever to Ganesh) are played at ear splitting levels all through the stay of Bappa and during his immersion. This is harmful not only to normal, healthy people but can be very dangerous to elder people,children and sick people. Virender Sehawg, the famous Indian batsman suffered hearing loss and had other complication because extremely high level decibel sounds were played very close to ears in one of the matches. He is still suffering from the ill effects. I completely fail to understand this insane obsession with high decibel sounds. Please keep the level of sound at a few decibels that can be tolerable by majority of the people, especially to those staying near the pandals. Symbolic immersions
This is perhaps the best way to tackle pollution caused due to idol immersions . Use a metal idol that we use for daily puja and house it as Lord Ganesh for 10-14 days. At the end of the Lords stay in your house, take the idol in a procession to the water body(natural or srtificial) where immersion will take place, dip the idol in water and hold it there for some time symbolizing immersion and then pull it out of water and take it back to your house for your daily use in your devghar.