Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expressing his concern in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat on Sunday on adverse effects of plaster of paris (PoP) Ganesha idols gave new impetus to the make-clay-idols campaign being run by various groups in Madhya Pradesh.
Minister of state for environment Anil Madhav Dave has also initiated a campaign not only to save the water bodies especially Narmada river from adverse effects of PoP idols but also feed the aquatic animals by using food items in place of colours.
People of the state are being taught the art of making clay idols free of cost to save the environment from adverse effects of PoP idols with the mantra -- give shape to Ganesha idols with your hands and feed the aquatic animals and save the environment –gradually gaining momentum in the state these days.
Despite warnings, sale of PoP Ganesha idols is still unabated in the state.
Narmada Samdgra, an NGO, is imparting training to people in villages and districts situated on the banks of Narmada.
“The training is being given to people for the past few years to make eco-friendly idols by using clay and papers. But this year, we decided not to colour idols but to decorate it with food items including pulses, seeds, fish-feed and others. After idols’ immersion, aquatic animals could feed it,” Naveen Bodhke, a Narmada Samdgra member, said.
In addition, the state government environment department also showed concern over use of PoP and it is trying not only to teach people about harmful effects of PoP but also promoting the campaign by connecting it to religious importance.
Environment commissioner Anupam Rajan said, “In Hindu religion, immersive idols are always made up of cow dung, clay and beetle nut so that they could absorb in the water bodies without leaving any harmful effects.”
“In the campaign, we are trying to convey this message to the residents as well as to idol-makers.”
Environmental planning and coordination organisation is also organizing a four-day workshop in different places of Bhopal to teach how to make eco-friendly idol making.
A workshop will also be organised for idol-makers.
When asked about banning the use of PoP idols, Rajan said, “It is not possible to ban anything in a day. There is also a problem that people don’t find eco-friendly Ganesha idols easily. To bring a behavioral change in the society, people would be taught about side-effects and idol making.”
Rajan said the workshop will continue round the year to teach clay idol making to youngsters to bring a positive change.