Maharashtra forms panel to suggest eco-friendly alternative for making idols
The committee was formed following directives from the SC, NGT and guidelines issued by Central Pollution Control Board given the pollution caused by PoP has been a concern for the authorities
After deciding to remove height restrictions imposed on Ganesh idols for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival beginning August 31, the Maharashtra government has constituted an expert committee to draft a policy for eco-friendly celebration of festivals in relation to immersion of idols in natural bodies.
The six-member committee has been asked to suggest alternative material to Plaster of Paris (PoP) for making eco-friendly idols and submit its report in three months.
The committee was formed following directives from the Supreme Court, National Green Tribunal and guidelines issued by Central Pollution Control Board given the pollution caused by PoP has been a concern for the authorities.
The committee has been asked to prepare and submit a report including recommendations and mitigation measures for abatement of pollution during celebration of festivals with respect to immersion of idols in natural water bodies.
“To verify the possibility to use Plaster of Paris for making idols in eco-friendly manner, to suggest alternative material to Plaster of Paris for making idols and to recommend mitigation measures for abating water pollution due to immersion of idols in natural water bodies,” a government resolution issued by the state environment and climate change department on August 2 stated.
Headed by the member secretary of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), the expert committee will comprise of Dr Rakesh Kumar, OSD, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and one representative each from Central Pollution Control Board, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and or a representative of Institute of Chemical Technology, joint director (water), Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and a representative of sculptor association (murtikar sanghatana), as members.
The state government recently removed all the restrictions from celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi that includes restrictions on height of Ganesh idols.
In Mumbai and Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi festival is celebrated with much fanfare. Thousands of idols are immersed in the Arabian Sea and water bodies on the last days of the festivals.
Last year due to Covid pandemic, the state government had prohibited processions during Ganesh Chaturthi and restricted the height of Ganesh idols to 4 feet and 2 feet for community (sarvajanik) mandals and homes respectively.