National Green Tribunal orders destruction of idols made of plaster of paris


National Green Tribunal has ordered Madhya Pradesh home secretary to explain non-compliance of its orders relating to the trend of immersion of idols made up of Plaster of Paris, synthetic colours and toxic materials.

Environmentalists argue that these materials are non biodegradable, when immersed in water and prove fatal to aquatic species, fishes and environment.

The NGT ordered government from three states namely  Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan to destroy idols made of these materials and report compliance by September 11.

This comes after the the NGT had ordered these states to comply with the Central Pollution Control Board’s guidelines in June 2010.

The NGT bench comprising judicial member Justice Dalip Singh and expert member Bikram Singh Sajwan asked state government to instruct all district collectors to follow instructions with immediate effect.

NGT gave order while hearing petition filed by environmentalist Subhash Pandey. These orders were originally passed by NGT in 2013 in response to the guidelines issued by Bombay High Court for idol immersion.

Last year, Indore and other districts of Malwa and Nimar region had banned idols made of Plaster of Paris and chemical colours.

1. Idols with synthetic colours and chemicals do not dissolve in water easily which in turn reduces the level of oxygen in it and proving fatal and kills fishes and many aquatic species
2. In Arabian sea off the Mumbai coast alone, every year oxygen level falls by 50 % immediately after the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi
3 POP and synthetic colours are non biodegradable and have high level of lead which is extremely harmful .

1. Eco friendly idols should be used, for example, paper pulp made out of paper mache technique with natural colours, that have less permissible limits of lead content and natural gum. They are completely biodegradable and they do not leave any toxic waste when immersed in water.
2. One Pune based artist Amit Bagju at his Academy of Fine Arts recently demonstrated how eco-friendly Ganesh idols could be made.
3. Such people’s skills should be tapped and workshop should be arranged to create awareness among the masses
4. POP should be replaced by clay and soil .
5. Spiritual thought of Ganesh Visarjan which depicts mokshaa relates to fact that everything in this world is temporary and dissolves in nature should not be commercialized and made responsible to pollute environment and nature given by our Lord
6. Flowers and Garlands should be kept at designated sites on Ghaats and littering should be avoided by keeping bins at proper places.
7. Temporary tanks and ponds could be constructed for idol immersion which can help in keeping rivers and seas clean and safe and letting our Faith strengthen without violating nature’s perfect  balance .