AURANGABAD: On the backdrop of perennial drought conditions and acute water shortage in Aurangabad district, a city-based NGO on Monday demanded the district collector to ban the sale of idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP). It also stressed on the need for reusing clay idols instead of immersing them in the river.
The NGO has submitted a memorandum to district collector Nidhi Pandey urged the officer to emphasise on implementing methods to save water bodies in the district. “With most parts of Marathwada region receiving less than 50 per cent rainfall leading to huge agricultural losses and drinking water scarcity, there is a need to celebrate festivals in an eco-friendly manner,” said Manisha Chaudhary, president of NGO Deepshikha Foundation.
“Traditionally, Ganesh idols are expected to be made of natural clay from river bed or banks. However, availability of clay, shadu and cost has put limitations on its making. Hence, most of the idols these days are made of PoP. As per the National Green Tribunal’s survey in 2013, altogether 68.01 lakh PoP idols were sold in Maharashtra of which 2.34 lakh were of large size. Moreover, around 500-600 Ganesh mandals in the city and around 1,000 in the district use PoP idols,” said social activist Jyoti Mahadik.
“With the help of NGOs and government in the recent past, efforts are being made to promote idols made of clay or from a combination of material, which has reduced the impact of pollution on natural water bodies,” said Vithal Joshi, another activist.
“But is has come to the fore that PoP idols do not easily disintegrate in the water, while shadu idols can within 30 minutes and eco-idols within 150 minutes. Tough clay and eco-idols do disintegrate in the water. But considering the water scarcity in the district, it would be advisable to encourage recycle and reuse the material,” Joshi added.