Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ON THE MOVE AGAIN. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ON THE MOVE AGAIN. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, January 6, 2021


The skeletal system in the human body helps in its locomotion. Different types of bones and muscles take part in the locomotors action. In the case of birds and animals, their body structure is different from that of humans. Also, the mode of locomotion varies from one animal to another. Hence, each organism has its own structural makeup which supports their daily activities. Suppose, if the skeletal system in birds is as heavy as in humans, birds can’t fly. For this purpose, birds have light bones attached to strong muscles. How do earthworms move without a single bone in their body? Let’s see gaits of animals like birds, earthworm, snails, cockroach, etc. 

Locomotion In Animals: Locomotion is an important process for animals. Animals have to move from one place to another for many reasons. They can’t stay in one place in order to support their living. Hence, certain body movements are observed in every organism but the means vary according to their body structure. The gait of a few animals are as follows: 

Cockroaches walk and climb as well as fly in the air. They have three pairs of legs. These help in walking. The body is covered with a hard outer skeleton. A cockroach has three pairs of jointed legs, which help it to walk, run and climb. It also has two pairs of wings; for flying. Large and strong muscles help in the movement of legs. Cockroach is an insect and is a terrestrial animal mostly a common household pest. 

The body is divided into three parts—head, thorax, and abdomen. 3 pair of legs are present in thoracic part which moves by the muscles present near its limbs (legs). The body of cockroach is covered with hard and tough outer covering called exoskeleton. The exoskeleton provides great protection to the internal organs of cockroach and also provides site for the attachment of muscles.

The outer skeleton of cockroach is made of different units joined together and that allows movement. The cockroach moves on ground as well as flies in air. Cockroach has six legs. It moves on the ground by using its legs. Each leg of cockroach consists of stiff, hollow tubes joined together. The legs of cockroach can be moved easily by the muscles. When the wings of the cockroach move down, they push on air download and backward the downward. 
The muscles which move the legs of cockroach attached to the inside of the endoskeleton. A cockroach has two pairs wings attached to its breast by flight muscles. The cockroach flies in air by moving its wings up and down rapidly with the help of flight muscles. 

Earthworm: Earthworms are small worms which can move easily on hard and slippery surfaces. Earthworms move with help of tiny, stiff hair-like projections called bristles. Earthworms move forward by repeated contractions and relaxations of their muscles in the skin. A slimy substance secreted by the earthworm helps in its movement. Hence, earthworms make small moves using muscles alone. 

Earthworm: Earthworm has a segmented body. It has a large number of very small bristles on the ventral surface of the body. The surface which is close to the base is called ventral surface. These bristles are connected with muscles at their bases. The earthworm moves by contracting and expanding alternate portions of its body. 

When the anterior or front part of the body contracts, the earthworm holds the ground with its bristles; and drags the posterior potion of its body forward. After that, it contracts the posterior portion and holds the ground with bristles. Now, the anterior portion of the body expands and moves forward.

Snail: Observe a snail in your garden or in field. Have you seen the rounded structure it carries on its back. This is called the shell and it is the outer skeleton of the snail, but is not made of bones. The shell is a single unit and does not help in moving from place to place. It has to be dragged along. Place the snail on a glass plate and watch it. When it starts moving, carefully lift the glass plate along with the snail over your head. Observe its movements from beneath. A thick structure and the head of the snail may come out of an opening in the shell. The thick structure is its foot, made of strong muscles. 

Now, carefully stilt the glass plate. The wavy motion of the foot can be seen. Is the movement of a snail slow or fast as compared to an earthworm? For movement a thick structure and the head of the snail come out of an opening in the shell. The snail has muscular foot which helps in locomotion. The muscular foot is made up of strong muscles. Snails commonly found on land or in soil. Snail possesses wavy movement with muscular contraction. It also secrets sticky substance called as mucus which helps to reduce grip between the snail and the ground so that they can move easily. 

The thick structure is its foot, made of strong muscles. The under surface of the muscular foot is lubricated with mucus, which helps in movement and also reduces the risk of injury from sharp objects. Waves of muscular contractions along this surface help a snail move. Snail locomotion is frequently called as crawling. 

Birds: Birds fly in the air and walk on the ground. Some birds like ducks and swans also swim in water. The birds can fly because their bodies are well suited for flying. Their bones are hollow and light. The bones of the hind limbs are typical for walking and perching. The bony parts of the forelimbs are modified as wings. The shoulder bones are strong. The breastbones are modified to hold muscles of flight which are used to move the wings up and down 
Birds can walk on the ground and fly as well. Some birds can also swim in the water. A bird has streamlined body. Its bones are light and strong. They are hollow and have air spaces between them. The hind limbs of birds are modified as claws, which help it to walk and to perch. Birds have special flight muscles and the forelimbs are modified as wings. The wings and tail have long feathers. 

Feathers of a bird help them to fly. Birds have three kinds of feathers – 
Flight feathers: They are long feathers in the wings and tail which are used for flying. 
Down feathers: They are soft and light which keep the bird warm. 
Body feathers: They cover the body and give the bird its shape. 
Flying birds have lightweight, smooth feathers – this reduces the forces of weight and drag a beak, instead of heavy, bony jaws and teeth – this reduces the force of weight  an enlarged breastbone called a sternum for flight muscle attachment – this helps with the force of thrust light bones – a bird’s bones are basically hollow with air sacs and thin, tiny cross pieces to make bones stronger – this reduces the force of weight a rigid skeleton to provide firm attachments for powerful flight muscles – this helps with the force of thrust a streamlined body – this helps reduce the force of drag wings – these enable the force of lift. 

The shape of a bird’s wing is important for producing lift. The increased speed over a curved, larger wing area creates a longer path of air. This means the air is moving more quickly over the top surface of the wing, reducing air pressure on the top of the wing and creating lift. Also, the angle of the wing (tilted) deflects air downwards, causing a reaction force in the opposite direction and creating lift. Larger wings produce greater lift than smaller wings. 
Gliding: When a bird is gliding, it doesn’t have to do any work. The wings are held out to the side of the body and do not flap. As the wings move through the air, they are held at a slight angle, which deflects the air downwards and causes a reaction in the opposite direction, which is lift. But there is also drag (air resistance) on the bird’s body, so every now and then, the bird has to tilt forward and go into a slight dive so that it can maintain forward speed. 
Soaring: Soaring flight is a special kind of glide in which the bird flies in a rising air current (called a thermal). Because the air is rising, the bird can maintain its height relative to the ground. The albatross uses this type of soaring to support its multi-year voyages at sea. 

Flapping: Birds’ wings flap with an up-and-down motion. This propels them forward. The entire wingspan has to be at the right angle of attack, which means the wings have to twist (and do so automatically) with each downward stroke to keep aligned with the direction of travel. 

A bird’s wing produces lift and thrust during the down stroke. The air is deflected downwards and also to the rear. The bird reduces its angle of attack and partially folds its wings on the upward stroke so that it passes through the air with the least possible resistance. The inner part of the wing has very little movement and can provide lift in a similar way to gliding. 

Obtaining thrust: Birds obtain thrust by using their strong muscles and flapping their wings. Some birds may use gravity (for example, jumping from a tree) to give them forward thrust for flight. Others may use a running take-off from the ground. 

Different flight abilities: Different birds have different adaptive features to meet their flight needs: Some birds are small and can manipulate their wings and tail to manoeuvre easily, such as the fantail (pīwakawaka). The hawk, with its large wingspan, is capable of speed and soaring. 

Gannets and seabirds are streamlined to dive at high speeds into the ocean for fish. Godwits, although small, are equipped to fly long distances. Crows and sparrows have three toes in front and one at the back. Parrots and woodpeckers have two toes pointed in front and two pointed at the back. Eagles and hawks have sharp curved claws called talons. Ducks have webbed feet which helps them to swim. 

Flightless birds are birds which cannot fly. They rely on their ability to run or swim, and have evolved from their flying ancestors. There are about 60 species living today, the best known being the ostrich, emu, cassowary, rhea, kiwi, and penguin. 

Snake: The body of snake consists of a large number of vertebrae. Snakes have a long backbone and many thin muscles. These are connected to each other even though they are far from one another. The muscles also interconnect the backbone, ribs and skin. It is this interconnected muscles that helps them slither. 

Snakes move in S-shaped loops and in a zigzag manner. Each loop of the snake gives it a forward push by pressing against the ground. Since its long body makes many loops and each loop gives it this push, the snake moves forward very fast and not in a straight line. 

Sankes have difficulty in moving on very smooth surfaces, but can move in grass, sand and water. They can even climb trees though they do not have arms or legs. Snakes have four ways of moving around. Since they don't have legs they use their muscles and their scales to do the "walking". 

Serpentine method: This motion is what most people think of when they think of snakes. Snakes will push off of any bump or other surface, rocks, trees, etc., to get going. They move in a wavy motion. They would not be able to move over slick surfaces like glass at all. This movement is also known as lateral undulation. 
Concertina method: This is a more difficult way for the snake to move but is effective in tight spaces. The snake braces the back portion of their body while pushing and extending the front portion. Then the snake drops the front portion of their body and straightens an pulls the back portion along. It is almost like they through themselves forward. 

Side winding: This is a difficult motion to describe but it is often used by snakes to move on loose or slippery surfaces like sand or mud. The snake appears to throw its head forward and the rest of its body follows while the head is thrown forward again. 

Rectilinear Method: This is a slow, creeping, straight movement. The snake uses some of the wide scales on its belly to grip the ground while pushing forward with the others. 

Fish: Fishes have adapted to life in water. Fish are in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Fish swims with the help of fins. They have two paired fins and an unpaired fin. The body of a fish is streamlined to reduce friction; while moving in water. Most of the fishes have strong tail fins that push them through the water, but you may also see fins on their backs, sides, and bellies. Some fish have special fins that let them walk short distances on land. 

The head and tail of the fish are smaller than the middle portion of the body, and the body tapers at both ends. This body shape is called streamlined. The shape is such that water can flow around it easily and allow the fish to move fast in water. 

During swimming, the muscles make the front part of the body curve to one side and the tail part swings towards the opposite side. The fish forms a curve then, quickly, the body and tail curve to the other side. This makes a jerk and pushes the body forward. 

A series of such jerks make the fish swim ahead. This is helped by the fins of the tail. The tail moves from side to side, and helps the fish swim in the right direction. Fish also have other fins on their body which mainly help to keep the balance of the body and to keep direction while swimming. 

WALKING Hedgehog By moving slowly, one can better observe the surroundings and search for food. 

JUMPING Bushcricket Jumping allows one to move quickly, to escape and hide from the enemy. The hind legs of bushcrickets are long and used for jumping. 

Rabbit Jumping quickly, rabbits push themselves with both their forelegs and hindlegs, and for this reason the prints of the legs are relatively distant from one another. 

Red Squirrel Squirrels are assisted in climbing trees by long toes and claws. Squirrels jump on tree-trunks and from branch to branch, propelling themselves with strong hindlegs. The fluffy tail works as a rudder and also as a parachute during descents. 

Great Spotted Woodpecker The feet of the woodpecker have two digits pointing forward and two digits pointing backward. Such feet are for climbing. In addition, woodpeckers have strong tail feathers that they use to support themselves on the trunk of a tree, when tapping with his beak in search for insects. 

Butterflies have two pairs of wings. Butterflies’ wings are covered with scales, which are situated so that half of one scale covers half of the next one. 

Like all flies and mosquitoes, the housefly has one pair of wings. Its hind wings are reduced and have become halters that help to keep flight balanced. The housefly flies very quickly and can move its wings up to 33 times per second. 

A bat’s wing structure is different from that of a bird’s. Bats’ forelimbs have a soft skin membrane, called a patagium, between their extended digits, which extends to the hind legs and tail. While flying, the Brown Long-eared Bat stretches its fingers out to its sides and the patagium tightens. It mainly feeds on butterflies and insects, both when they are flying and from branches and leaves. Bats apply echolocation to move. 
Earthworms move by alternate extension and contraction of the body using muscles. Tiny bristles on the underside of the body help in gripping the ground. Snails move with the help of a muscular foot. The body and legs of cockroaches have hard coverings forming an outer skeleton. The muscles of the breast connected with three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings help the cockroach to walk and fly. Strong muscles and light bones work together to help the birds fly. They fly by flapping their wings. Fish swim by forming loops alternately on two sides of the body. Snakes slither on the ground by looping sideways. A large number of bones and associated muscles push the body forward. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016



Dhanu’sDhanu’s village
Today all the relatives have come to Dhanu’s house to celebrate Dushera. They have come with their luggage in their bullockcarts. Dhanu’s father is the eldest in the family.

So all the festivals are celebrated at their house. Dhanu’s mother (aai ), mother’s brother’s wife (mami ) and father’s brother’s wife (kaki ) are busy making puranpoli (sweet rotis made from jaggery and gram).

Alongwith this a spicy kadi dish is also made. The day passes in laughing and chatting. But by evening everyone’s mood changes. The women and children begin to pack their luggage.

The men sit down with the mukadam (agent who lends money) for the meeting. The mukadam gives the details of the loan taken by each family.

Then the talks for the next few months begin. The mukadam explains to the villagers in which areas they would go for the next six months. He also gives them some money as loan, for their expenses. Ever since Dhanu remembers, this has been the routine.

Families like Dhanu’s work on the lands of big farmers till Dushera, before the rainy season. Many other families also work on such lands. They earn just enough money to keep them going through these months.

But how to manage the remaining six months, when there is no rain, and no work in the fields? So, everyone borrows mone from the mukadam. To pay back this money, they have to work for the mukadam. Mukadam is an agent for sugarcane factories. He helps them to find work in sugarcane fields.

In the next few months, Dhanu, his parents, his kaka (father’s brother) and his two elder children, his mama, mami and their two daughters, and forty-fifty other families from the village will stay away from home.

In these six months, Dhanu and many children like him will not be able to go to school. Dhanu’s old grandmother, aunt who cannot see, and two-month old cousin sister would stay back in the village.

In other homes too the old and the ill people stay behind. Dhanu misses his grandmother a lot. Dhanu always keeps wondering  who will take care of his grandmother! But, what can Dhanu do?

After Dushera:
The caravan of these families would now settle near the sugarcane fields and sugar factories. For six months they would stay in their huts made of dry sugarcane and its leaves.

The men will get up early in the morning and go to cut sugarcanes in the fields. The women and children tie the bundles of sugarcane. Then the bundles are taken to the sugar factory.

Dhanu often goes with his father. Sometimes, they spend nights outside the factory on bullock-carts. There, Dhanu plays with the bullocks and wanders around.

At the factory, Dhanu’s father gets the sugarcane weighed and takes a receipt (a note to say how much sugarcane they have given). They show this receipt to the agent who then keeps an account of their loan.

The agent also gives them some money for the next week’s expenses. Then Dhanu’s aai and mami take thechildren to the nearby village market, to buy atta (flour) and oil for the next week.

Sometimes mami buys laddoos or some sweets for the children. She also buys pencils, an eraser and a notebook for Dhanu. After all he is mami’s favorite! But Dhanu won’t be using these for six months, because he won’t be going to school.

Mami wants Dhanu to study and become somebody in life. She does not want Dhanu to move around with his family like this. mama and mami tell Dhanu’s parents, “Next time when we leave our village after Dushera we will leave Dhanu with his dadi and chachi.

He will go to school like the other children in the village. He should continue
his studies. He should study further and become somebody.”





I am Gaurav Jani and this is ‘Loner ’ – my partner – my motorcycle.
But, Loner is never lonely. We are together all the time. I and my motorcycle wait for a chance to get away from the busy, crowded and noisy city of Mumbai. We like to travel to different parts of this wonderful country. Let me tell you about our amazing journey on the highest roads in India.

Getting ready
This journey took about two months. I had to carry everything on my motorcycle. I had to plan and collect all the things I needed. I packed a small tent, sleeping bag, plastic sheet, warm clothes and food that would remain fresh for some days. I also took my camera and extra cans for petrol. Loner and I left Mumbai, passing through small villages and towns of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan to reach Delhi.

It took me three days to cover 1400 kilometers from Mumbai to Delhi. I was hoping to see something new and different in Delhi. But Delhi looked just like Mumbai! I am tired of looking at the same kinds of houses, made of cement, bricks, glass and steel. I was looking forward to my journey ahead.

I was excited that I would be able to see wooden houses, houses
with sloping roofs and those covered in snow. I had seen pictures of such houses in many books.

I packed more things in Delhi and continued. In two days we were in Manali. It was so refreshing to be in the mountains and breathe the clean air! Now the real journey was to begin. We had to travel through difficult roads of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to reach Leh in Ladakh.

New home
Loner and I were covering long distances each day. All I needed was food and a tent to protect myself from the cold night air. My nylon tent was so small that I could just about fit in it to sleep.

Loner stood guard outside the tent. The breeze and the sound of the birds woke me up to see the sunrise.

Cold desert
At last Loner and I reached Leh. For the first time I saw such an area – high, dry and flat called a cold desert. Ladakh gets very little rainfall. Here there are high snowcapped mountains and a cold, flat ground.

In Leh, I found myself in a quiet street with beautiful white houses. As I rode slowly, I found that I was being followed by a group of children. They called out ‘jule, jule’, meaning ‘welcome, welcome’. They were all amazed to see my ‘Loner’. Everyone wanted me to come to their home.

At home with Tashi
Tashi dragged me to his home. It was a building with two floors. The house was made of stones which were kept one over the other. The walls were coated with a thick layer of mud and lime.

The house looked like a shed from inside with a lot of hay stored there. We took the wooden steps and reached the first floor. “This is where we stay,” explained Tashi.

“The ground floor is for our animals and for storing necessary things.
Sometimes when it gets too cold, we also move downstairs.” I noticed that the ground floor had no windows. Thick tree trunks were used to make the
roof strong.

Tashi then took me to the roof of his house. What a view! I could see the same flat roofs all around. On some red chillies were, laid out to dry and on some there were orange pumpkins and golden yellow corn. Some had stacks of paddy and on some cow dung cakes were laid out to dry.

“This is the most important part of our house,” said Tashi. “During summer season we dry many fruits and vegetables. We store them for winters when we do not get fresh fruits and vegetables.”

As I stood there with Tashi I could see how every part of the house was built specially to suit the needs of his people. I could understand how the thick walls, a wooden floor and a wooden ceiling protected them from the cold.

People living on top of the world
Now was the time to climb higher. Loner had a tough time zigzagging along narrow, rocky mountain roads. At many places there were no roads at all.

I was moving towards the rocky plains of ‘Changthang’. This place is at a height of almost 5000 metres. It is so high that it is difficult to breathe normally. I had a headache and felt weak.

Then I slowly got used to breathing in such air. For many days we kept wandering in this area with not a single human being in sight. No petrol pumps, no mechanics!

Only clear blue sky and many beautiful lakes around. Many days and nights passed. Loner and I kept moving ahead. Suddenly one morning I saw before me flat grassy land. Many sheep and goats were grazing there. Far in the distance I saw some tents. I wondered who lived there and what they were doing in this far out place.

The Changpa
There I met Namgyal and came to know about the Changpa – a tribe
living on the mountains. The Changpa tribe has only about 5000 people. The Changpas are always on the move with their goats and sheep.

 It is from these that they get all that they need – milk, meat, skin for tents and wool for coats and sweaters. Their goats are their only treasure. If a family has more animals it is considered more rich and important.

From these special goats they get wool for making the world famous pashmina wool. The Changpa graze their goats at higher and colder places so that the goats have more and softer hair (fur).

They stay high up on these mountains in very difficult conditions because that is where these goats can live. This is their life and their livelihood.
I was carrying very little of my belongings on my motorcycle.

But the Changpas carry everything that they own on their horses and yaks. It takes them only two and a half hours to pack everything and move ahead. Within no time they put up their tents at the chosen place, the luggage is unpacked and their homes are ready.

“You are most welcome into our home,” said Namgyal as he led me to the big cone-shaped tent. They call their tent Rebo. Yak hair is woven to make strips which are stitched together.

These are strong and warm and protect them from the icy strong winds. I saw that the strips were tightly tied with nine sticks. The ground is dug about 2 feet deep. The tent is then put up around this on the higher part of the ground.

The world famous pashmina
It is believed that a pashmina shawl is as warm as six sweaters! It is very thin yet very warm.
The goats from which the soft pashmina wool is collected, are found on very high altitudes of
5000 metres. In winter, the temperature here drops below 0°C (–40°C). A coat of warm hair
grows on the goat’s body which protects it from extreme cold. The goats shed some of their hair
(fur) in summer.

This hair is so fine that six of these would be as thick as one hair of yours! The fine hair cannot be woven on machines and so weavers of Kashmir make these shawls by hand. This is a long and difficult process. After almost 250 hours of weaving, one plain pashmina shawl is made. Imagine how long it would take to make a shawl with embroidery.

As we stepped into the tent I realised that I could stand up straight. It was not like my tent. I also saw that the Rebo was as big as a room of my flat in Mumbai! It was held up by two wooden poles in the middle.

There was an opening to let out the smoke from the chulah. Namgyal told that, the design of this tent is more than a thousand years old. The tent protected the Changpas from extreme cold.

How cold must it be? In winters the temperature drops many degrees below zero! The wind blows at 70 kilometres per hour. Imagine–if you were on a bus which was going at this speed, how far from your house would you reach in one hour? Near the Rebo there was a place to keep sheep and goats.

Changpas call this lekha. The walls of a lekha are made with stones. Each family puts a special mark on their own animals. The women and young girls count and take the animals out of the lekha. They count them again everyday when they bring them back in the evening.

Towards Srinagar
I spent a few days with the Changpas but, sadly, it was time to move on. My return journey would take me away from this special part of the world, towards towns which looked like a totally different world.

This time I took a different route from Leh. I was going towards Srinagar via Kargil. I saw many more amazing buildings and different houses.

I stayed in Srinagar for a few days. I was amazed by the houses there. They took my heart away! Some houses are on the mountains, while some are on water. I took many pictures of these. See my photo album .

Houses of Srinagar – My photo album
Tourists who come to Srinagar love to stay in houseboats. Houseboats can be as long as 80 feet and around 8 to 9 feet wide. Beautiful carving.

Many families in Srinagar live in a ‘donga’. These boats can be seen in Dal Lake and Jhelum river. From inside the ‘donga’ is just like a house with different rooms.

Beautiful carving on wood can be seen on the ceiling of houseboats and some big houses. This design is called ‘khatamband’, which has a pattern that look like a jigsaw puzzle.

In villages of Kashmir, houses are made from stones cut and kept one on top of the other and coated with mud. Wood is also used. The  houses have sloping roofs.

Some old houses have a special type of window which comes out of the wall. This is called ‘dab’. It has beautiful wood pattern. It is wonderful to sit here and enjoy the view!

When I started my journey, I had not imagined that in one state I would see so many different kinds of houses and lifestyles. I had a wonderful experience of living on the mountains in Leh and another of living on water in Srinagar. I saw how both the houses in these areas were made to suit the climate.

Return journey
Again it was time to move on. In Jammu I saw houses like I have
been seeing in Mumbai. The same– cement, brick, steel and glass. These houses are very strong. But they are not as special as the houses I was lucky to see in Leh and Srinagar. After a long journey Loner and I were about to reach Mumbai. My heart felt heavy. I also felt that my motorcycle did not want to come back.

I was happy that I had learnt and experienced so many new things. I had also brought back some memories in my camera. And of course, this was not the end!

Next time when Loner and I get bored of the city, we will again set out for a new journey!



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.