Sunday, September 19, 2021

Eco-friendly Ganesha idols versus the traditional Plaster Of Paris PoP




Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is one of the most celebrated festivals of the Hindus that marks the birth of Lord The tradition of Ganesh VisarjanOn the last day of the festival, the tradition of Ganesh Visarjan takes place. The concluding day of the 10-day: festival is also popularly known as Anant Chaturdashi. As the word 'visarjan' implies, on this day immersion ('visarjan' means immersion) of Lord Ganapati's idol takes place in a river, sea or water body. On the first day of the festival, the devotees mark the beginning of Ganesh Chaturthi with the placement of Lord Ganesha's idol in their homes, public places and offices. On the last day, the devotees come out in processions carrying the idols of their beloved God and perform immersion. 


There is an interesting story behind the legend of Ganesh visarjan. It is believed that Lord Ganesha returns to Mount Kailash to join his parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on the last day of the festival. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi also denotes the significance of the cycle of birth, life and death. Ganesha, who is also known as the Lord of New Beginnings, is also worshipped as the Remover of Obstacles. It is believed that when the idol of the Ganesha is taken out for immersion, it also takes away with it the various obstacles of the house and these obstacles are destroyed along with the visarjan. Every year, people wait with great anticipation to celebrate the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. And like always, we also hope that this year too, the Remover of Obstacles will shower us with his blessings and wipe out all the struggles from our life.


Go Green
All You Need To Know About Plaster Of Paris (PoP) Idols. I am sure you won’t buy Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols for Ganesha Festival or Durga Pooja after listening this.POP and Shadu Clay have been the predominant materials used to make the idols. POP has gained more popularity in very lesser time. Every year, thousands of POP idols find their way to market and get sold out. But what makes POP so popular? POP idols are so popular because, people love them and artists love to make them. Every year, after the end of the Vinayaka Chavithi festivities, officials of government agencies and NGOs are faced with the arduous task of clearing tonnes of debris and garbage from the city beaches. Environmentalists have repeatedly pointed to the dangers of using Plaster of Paris (PoP) in making the idols but till date, there has been no clear policy on this issue. 


Several governments have made efforts to ban the sale of PoP idols but the move has faced tough resistance. Experts say that the main issue here is the absence of a detailed study on the matter and the lack of a sustained campaign to highlight the dangers of using polluting substances in the making of idols. "If we look at the chemical composition of PoP, the material is developed by heating gypsum in temperatures ranging from 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It again turns to gypsum when it comes in contact with water. 


Gypsum is a naturally occurring substance, and the idol-makers argue that it is harmless. On the other side, there is an argument that PoP and the chemical paints that are used to colour the idols contain heavy metals, which are toxic," said Prof. P.V.V. Prasada Rao, Head of the Department of Environment Sciences at Andhra University. The paint that is used contains heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, which can lead to neurological disorders and cancer. 


A senior biologist from AU said that once the PoP idols are immersed in water, be it in a river or the sea, the heavy metals present in the idols are dissolved in the water and enter the food chain through marine species and agricultural produce. Environmentalist Bolisetti Satyanarayana said that once PoP idols are immersed, the material turns to gypsum paste and damages the ecology of water bodies and causes a drop in dissolved oxygen. The toxic chemicals used in painting the idols also increase the toxin levels in the water.


Advantages of Plaster of Paris (PoP): Light-weight, Durable, Easy to mould into any shape, Has low thermal conductivity, Good for fire resistance and heat insulation It doesn’t shrink while setting. Therefore, it does not develop cracks on heating or setting. Easy to mix up with water. Easy to spread and level. It has good adhesion on fibrous materials,Doesn’t react with paint and does not cause alkali attack, Provides a lot of shine and smoothness to the surface.


Disadvantages of Plaster of Paris (PoP): Not suitable for exterior finish as it is slightly soluble in water, Cost is higher than the cement or cement lime plaster., Not suitable for moist situations PoP idols are not eco friendly. Skilled labour is required for precise application of plaster of Paris, which results in higher labour cost. Awareness on the rise. Vinayaka Chavithi celebrations were mostly limited to households. 


But over the years, public celebrations have gained ground. Today, in the city alone, about 2,000 pandals are erected and in most cases, the idols exceed a height of four feet. "Till about five to six years ago, 90% of the idols installed in the pandals were made of PoP, but now there is a slow but steady change with organisers coming forward to use clay or eco-friendly idols," said an officer from the A.P. Pollution.



4 reasons an eco-friendly: Eco-friendly Ganesha idols versus the traditional Plaster Of Paris ones. While the ones made of POP are very attractive, cheap and easy to make, the eco-friendly ones can do a lot of good for your health and the environment at large. Eco-friendly Ganesha idols are those that are made of clay, natural fibers, paper and other biodegradable materials. These idols, when immersed in water degrade faster and do not harm the environment as much as the ones made of POP. So, to help you make the move towards a more eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturti, here are reasons an eco-friendly Ganesha idol is the best way to go.


Does not pollute natural water sources: One big drawback of Ganesha idols made of POP is the fact that POP does not degrade easily, leading to severe consequences like polluted water. The material also increases the acid content of water sources and can kill natural life in the water. While we may not think much of this, you must realise that life that survives in water are an essential part of our ecology. Not only do they help keep the water pure and healthy but they also help keep common pests like mosquitoes at bay (fish found in lakes and ponds feed on mosquitoes keeping their numbers in check). Apart from all this studies have found that people who use this polluted water suffer from a host of medical conditions like infections, lung disease, ailments related to the skin, blood and eyes. Metal content in water affects the quality of foods: POP contains chemicals like magnesium, gypsum, phosphorus and sulphur. The dyes that are commonly used to decorate these idols also contain mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead, and carbon. 
   

When these idols are immersed in common water sources (like the sea, ponds, lakes, etc.) it gets contaminated with high amount of metal and other chemicals which kill fish and plants that live in water. Not only does this lead to a phenomenon called 'dead water body', where the water body cannot harbour any life forms, but could also lead to heavy metal poisoning caused due to the consumption of fish contaminated with these metals. When ingested these heavy metals are known to interfere with several systems of the body. 


Dyes and glitter on POP idols can harm you as well. Apart from all the above risks, the dyes that are commonly used to colour Ganesha idols made of POP can be harmful to you and your family. Apart from that the glitter that is often used to add that special sparkle to the idol may also rub off on your hands and clothes. When inhaled this glitter can cause damage to your lungs, affect your eyes and even cause allergies in some. In contrast an eco-friendly Ganesha idol poses none of those risks.
  

Eco-friendly Ganesha idols can be a family-bonding exercise The best part about owning an eco-friendly Ganesha idols is the fact that you can make them yourself. You might need some guidance initially, but later it can be a lot of fun to create your own idol. The whole activity can be a great way of family bonding and allows you and your family members an opportunity to unleash their creativity. You can choose from a variety of materials like paper mache, clay, aata and even turmeric to make your very own eco-friendly Ganesha idol.



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