Pune’s eco-sensitivity index on a historic high this Ganesh festival
While increasing number of people have switched to ecofriendly clay idols and have pledged not to pollute the rivers with Plaster of Paris (PoP) Ganesh idols, even those with PoP idols plan to immerse them in special civic tanks or in buckets of water at home with sodium bicarbonate powder provided by the PMC.Updated: Aug 27, 2017 15:04 IST
For the first time in recent years, aggressive campaigning by city environmentalists, schools, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and organisations such as the National Chemical Laboratory and Cummins Group (India), has helped raise the city’s eco-sensitivity index to a historic high during Ganeshotsav.
While increasing number of people than ever before have switched to ecofriendly clay idols and have pledged not to pollute the rivers with Plaster of Paris (PoP) Ganesh idols, even those with PoP idols plan to immerse them in special civic tanks or in buckets of water at home with sodium bicarbonate powder provided by the PMC.
Special initiatives such as the clay idol-making workshop organised by the PMC to create a Guinness World Record and workshops organised across the city by schools and NGOs have also helped raise awareness about the need for an ecofriendly Ganeshotsav.
PMC’s initiative in association with the NCL and Cummins, to distribute packets of Ammonium Bicarbonate to idol sellers, to be given free with every PoP idol sold, seems to have picked up great momentum this year. The initiative was launched last year, along with the provision to immerse the PoP idols in civic tanks instead of rivers.
Jaydeep Kamble, an idol seller near Shaniwar Wada, said that even though people purchased PoP idols because they are attractive and sturdy, many of them plan to immerse them in the civic tanks and at home.
About the sale of idols made of clay or shadu, sellers such as Nilesh Pandurang Parsekar, owner of Vishwakarma Arts, an 85-year-old idol shop in Narayan Peth said that the claly idols were not selling as briskly as the PoP ones.
Mandar Desai of Desai Bandhu Ambewale said that the PoP idols were being purchased in large numbers also because the PMC had provided the ammonium bicarbonate power to people, to immerse the idols in an ecofriendly way.
Some sellers like Kundan Jadhav and Surendra Bhat, who exclusively sell clay idols, said they seen a rise in sales this year. “People know I sell clay idols and so they come to me for that mostly. I sold 580 pieces out of 850 of clay idols till now, and only 178 PoP idols,” said Bhat who has been selling them for the past 30 years.
Jadhav added, “I got only 10 pieces of PoP idols because I don’t want to sell anything which harms the environment. As for the clay models, I have sold all the 250 pieces that I had bought.”
‘Either Or’ outlet near Jehangir hospital, which specialises exclusively as an eco-friendly shop, sells clay and paper mache idols. At this shop, Rekha and Swapnil Gaikwad said that they work with Ecoexist and only sell shadu on orders given a month back. “Not only we but mostly all our relatives prefer shadu idol. Yes shadu idol is costly but not more than our environment,” Rekha said.
The customers keen on going ecofriendly, complain that lack of options often turns them otherwise.
Chanderi Bhalerao, a resident of Vishranthwadi said , “We purchased PoP idol this year, although we know it is harmful for the environment but stalls nearby our home don’t sell clay idols. However, we donate our idol instead of immersion so it will reused next year.”
“PoP has more options and as I have a small kid, I don’t want the Ganesh idol to fall and break, which can happen for clay idols as they are brittle. But we are environment friendly, so we won’t immerse it in the river but use the powder provided by PMC,” said another buyer, Shilpa Sonawane.
Rajesh Kulkarni of Kumar Padmaja, Kothrud, has been buying clay idols every year . “We purchase shadu Ganesha idols every year and are happy not to pollute the rivers.” Rekha and Swapnil Gaikwad, added, “Not just us but we also make our friends and relatives buy clay Ganesh idols only. This year we had placed the order for it, a month ago.”