Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) has roped in a 54-year-old government employee to help artisans shift to making idols with more eco-friendly items, like clay and paper mache.
Ashok Bhardwaj, who works in the state home department as a section officer, has carved a name for himself as a sculptor who makes idols with easily available natural products.
“Though I am a government employee, clay art has been my passion since childhood. My father was a taught me the basics of sculpting. Clay is cheap, easily available and doesn’t harm the environment,” he said on the last day of a two-day training workshop organised by the MPPCB.
Apart from idol makers, people from several walks of life took idol-making lessons at the workshop organised close on the heels of the festive season.
Talking to HT, MPSPCB regional officer, PS Bundela, said: “Ashok Bhardwaj was roped in as the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines specify that idols should be made from natural materials.”
“Making idols from such materials takes less time and doesn’t harm the environment as does the synthetic colours and plaster of Paris,” he said.
MPPCB has been under pressure for the past two years to check use of Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has stressed that the state government should stop use of plaster of Paris and synthetic colours in idol making to stop the pollution of water bodies where they are immersed.
On Tuesday, the NGT had directed the Madhya Pradesh government to direct all district collectors to identify idols made from Plaster of Paris in their respective areas and destroy them.