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Compilation of responses received by Karmayog to Dr. Sangole’s appeal: “Ideas needed for eco-friendly alternatives to Ganpati immersion”

Sept. 2007


14th September 2007


Dear Mr. Vinay Somani,


We have been carrying out SARVAJANIK ECO-FRIENDLY GANESH VISARJAN since three years by creating artificial wells, at Nana-Nani Park in Pestom Sagar road no06, Chembur.


This has the following benefits


1] Saves the water bodies like lakes and ponds in Mumbai.

2] The eco-system in ponds/lakes is undisturbed

3] Reduction in traffic jams

4] Prevention of Noise, Water & Air pollution

5] Security of senior citizens and children is assured.


We Need suggestions from different people on the following issue:


Routinely all the clay idols get dissolved completely in the well, but the Plaster of Paris idols do not dissolve completely. So with great care and proper rituals we collect these undissolved idols and immerse them into DEEP Sea after the festival is over.


It is my request to you to take up this issue on Karmayog so that we get proper feedback and suggestions from different people whether there is any other ECO-FRIENDLY alternative to immersion in the deep sea without hurting the sentiments of people.


It is very important to protect our oceans too!!!



 Dr.Vijay Sangole MBBS

Jt. Secretary PSCF LACG.
Mob: 98704 65 221
Res:  25221126



From: "Kannan Moudgalya" <kannan@...>

This is an excellent idea. You may also consider spreading the
eco-friendly Ganesh idols (for the next year). Such a movement has been
going on for about three years at IIT Powai. Most people within the IIT
campus now buy Ganesh idols made of powai lake's clay. I am attaching
below a mail that was circulated in our coampus in this connection. Best

Kannan Moudgalya

Navsrujan Ganesh Mahotsav 2007
Make your OWN eco-friendly Ganapati from the Powai Lake soil!!!

Session timings:

September 5-7 -- 2:30 - 5:00 PM
Saturday, September 8 -- 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon; 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Sunday, September 9 -- 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon; 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM

The Campus School, IIT Bombay (Near Market Gate)

Small idol- Rs. 30/-
Medium idol- Rs. 50/-

Please bring:
Box or bag to carry your Ganapati, One or two paint brushes, A small bowl
for water.

Walk in Registrations on a First Come First Serve basis.

Contact (For details):
Ms. Chaitali Gupta -- 9321483700; Ms. Jaya Khilar -- 2576-8230
Ms. Rashmi Misra -- 2576-8000 ; Ms. Saraswathi Krithivasan -- 2576-8740
Powai Lake is our Pride!

Promote an Eco friendly Festival -- Avoid use of large idols, chemical
colours, nirmalya, plastic bags, thermocol decorations!




From: Shanti Jagannathan


Thanks. I believe it is also time to begin to lobby and to start whole scale public awareness to PUT AN END to the kind of large sized Ganeshas that are made in toxic and non-dissolvable material and chucked into the waters in many cities of India - including Hyderabad, etc.. This type of behaviour has nothing to do with reverence for the God, or reverence for human life. No spiritual teaching endorses this kind of behaviour. I hope you can get on to that and build a constituency of concerned people and campaign for it.


best wishes


Shanti Jagannathan
New Delhi




Dear Dr. Vijay,

Are there any other places outside of Chembur? I would love to support
this and tell others as well but if you could give me other options
availaable in town?

And can you let me know the possibliity of finding environmentally
friendly Ganeshas? At least would be useful for next year and will
spread the word as well on them.

With regards,
Hemanth Rao.
Hemanth Meka Rao
Director, MekaCorp
Director, Amma Lines Ltd
Director, Rewas Ports Ltd








As an alert NGO, Rotary has always done exemplary service to the community and society.


In continuation with their work towards protecting our environment and reducing the pollution they have planned a mega project which will be carried out at the Visarjan Ghat in Thane East and at Masunda Talao in Thane West,  with the support of Thane Police and Thane Municipal Corporation  during the Ganeshotsav this year, on 16th, 20th & 25th September.


The project will be to discourage the use of Plastic Bags for disposing “Nirmalya” (flowers/garlands removed from the idols just before immersion) and provide the Ganesh Bhaktas with Paper Bags/ Paper Envelops for the same.


Rotary Club of Thane East, are all set to give away 10000 paper bags. Also to make them sensitive towards the noise pollution near the Visarjan area, facilitating the security personnel (Police) to upkeep the law and order situation.


The Commissioner of Police D. Shivanandan, Mayor of Thane Smita Indulkar, The Commissioner of TMC Nandakumar Jantre, and District Governor of Rotary District 3140 Dr. Ulhas Kolhatkar are expected to attend the project and participate in distributing paper bags to the citizens at the immersion spots motivating them to use paper bags instead of polythene bags.

K i s h i n

P r e s i d e n t

Rotary  club of Thane east,,

cell 9322402730 




From: Usha Srinivasan


Dear Dr. Sangole


We from Development Alternatives under our CLEAN-India (Community led environment action network) have launched campaigns for celebrations of festivals in an eco freindly way without hurting religeous sentiments. Holi, Diwali, Dussehra and Ganesh Chathurthi to name a few.


For Ganesh Chathurthi, we advise the use of unbaked clay idols coloured with natural colours. Plaster of Paris is very harmful to land and water when immersed in water bodies. Potters are ready to make the unbaked clay idols if people are ready to buy. In Delhi, we have been doing this for the last 5 years through schools and communities.


Before launching the campaigns we discussed the issue with religeous leaders. Please refer to our web site : www.cleanindia.in for details.




Usha Srinivasan

Senior Advisor (Environment)

Development Alternatives




From: AccountAid Team


Thanks for your message. You are probably aware that there are prescribed methods for making divine images, including the material which can be used to make these. This is mostly grass, clay, wood, stone etc. Composite materials like resin, plaster of paris, cement, lime, etc. have not been prescribed. This applies to large as also millions of small images, which are used across India. It would be very good if this information was systematically highlighted among the devoted as they would naturally attach the highest regard to a prescription from the shastra.

 Best wishes

 AccountAid Team




Dear Dr Sangole,

The only alternative is to generate awareness amongst
the devotees to use smaller clay idols at public and
still smaller images (say 1/2 square feet) at
household celebrations of the Ganapati festival in
Mumbai and elsewhere. You may take help of Superstar
Amitabh Bacchan to promote the cause.

Happy Ganesh!
Dr Pradip Narayan Maske




Dear Dr. Sangole,


A very happy ganeshotsav to you. I must congratulate you for the commendable job you are doing regarding SARVAJANIK ECO-FRIENDLY GANESH VISARJAN. I am happy that there are people like you who are concerned about the environment and are doing their best to conserve it.


Since you have asked suggestions, I would like to contribute my ideas to the same.


I feel that there is a need to look at the way we celebrate Ganeshutsav in a different light altogether. If it is possible then people must stop immersing idols altogether. While the huge pandals may not find this idea feasible, the home ganeshotsavs can implement it. Instead of buying idols every year and immersing them, every household can buy a metal idol which will last for years and instead of immersing it and waiting it to dissolve (one day, one month or one year) one can just immerse it in water and take it back home and use the same the next year.


I feel that just because some rituals are being followed since time immemorial they need not be followed just for the sake of following. Nowadays, situations have changed, the environmental conditions have changed, and the traffic condtions too have changed.


This idea of mine is not to offend anybody's religious sentiments. It is just a thought and I would love to receive comments on the same.


Thanks and regards

Pritpal Kaur





From: Director, Akshaya


Motivate saints to announce that Ganesha doesn't like this drowning and kindly stop this in future and worship the dieties as far as possible in the public  place itself.




From: malik sajad


Dear Vijay Sangole,

My opinion is that we should also create a cartoon character (comic or animation) as an idol in festivals and its journey through water, an environment where it will rest. By it we can show whether these idols are happy with us or not, what they see there. Hence conveying the message...

Many thanks 

Malik Sajad




From: G.C. Mathur


The first and foremost advice is that we should use not paints, but natural colours  for  Ganesh  moorti.  The moorti should be made of  pure earth  which could be fired as well for making it stronger. Visarjan of such Moortis will never be against eco system. There will be no need for artificial wells also.

G.C. Mathur




From: RonDevKohli


Ur idea of artificial well is  excellent. Should continue to encourage CLAY models Indue course same clay could be recycled.


Slowly convert strong harsh music to soft 'sankirtan type Chanting'. the vibrations created by that would be beneficial to participants.Please see the procession last year organised by "Sanatan Sanstha' They will I believe organise  it again I

Best Wishes





From: Rajal Thaker



Dr Rajal Thaker


From: pavan iyengar

For one , you cannot dissolve it in deep sea as it is un ecofriendly!
you need to stop POP manufactured ganapatis
you need to encourage mud and clay ganapatis



From: Jyoti Chede


It is nice that you are taking up this important issue .i have been keeping Ganapati for a couple of years.on 10th day instead of going to lake or ocean i immerse my Ganapati idol in a big tub at my home. and let the idol be completly disove in the water .it takes 2 or 3 dayes .then i put this water to plants.the idea is soil become one with soil. this may not a big thing but small effort to support all these causes.

- Jyoti




From: binod saharia






Actually, in Goa, they're trying to move away from plaster-of-paris statues back to clay. --FN

Frederick Noronha  Journalist http://fn.goa-india.org
In Hyderabad. Ph 040-23132176 SMS: 9822122436




From: "Franz Nahrada" <f.nahrada@...>

Dear Dr. Sangole,

thanks for asking me. I have not the slightest idea of the chemical nature
of the clay and how harmful this really is, and i cannot do research and
go deeper on this, sorry sorry, but if you visibly dissolve some idols in
the wells and if you dissolve the others in the sea, why not create an
artificial "living pond" or rather deep hydrogarden - so to say a "living
machine "- that symbolizes the cycle of life and dissolves with the help
of the forces of narture? Like Buddhist Sand Gardens the ceremony leaves
no traces.

Just an idea. Maybe from a complete western idiot. Excuse me, yust wanted
to be polite. Maybe the durability of the idols and their potential
undestroyability plays an important role in your belief system. I am not
an engineer, rather a sociologist....And it seems somehow difficult to
stick to old ways of spiritual worshipping in an age of science. Yet, each
and every religion is an arrangement for the senses to fulfill a very
vital need of the embedded soul ,something which was always arranged in
accordance with social and natural circumstances....I wish I could say
these were really my concerns. I am not fixed or focused in a spiritual
way that keeps me forget about the issues of this world - and I would say
it might be not a blessing to have to struggle like I struggle.

You could choose to tell me more about the belief system, because there
cannot be a solution from one side. But my time most likely does not allow
me to go deeper into the matter, sorry.... I think you need to gather many
perspectives in a council and each perspective really and totally respects
the other. Believers, Worshippers, Scientists, Sociologists, .. that would
be interesting... They might come up with a solution together. Impossible
to solve it from one angle...

so far.





From: Shashi Singh


Everyone please use and make products which  preserve the natural environment. Material & products to be used for a short time and desposed have to be made bio-degradable. there is no compromise on this issue. Even nature wants to balance and maintain it's equilibrium and for this we need to stop abusing natural resources and preserve the environment.This would be the best way to pay tributes to nature and the Lord almighty.

shashi singh

Consortium Of Women Entrepreneurs Of India




From: ramanand kowta

Hi and Namaste,

I read Dr. Sangole's description of his ' timely initiative ' and a fervent plea for an alternative to the PoP ' problem '.The following article will clarify that ' Naturally Cyclical processes are the basis of Life and Existence ' - Linearisation of which ( out of ecological and social and religious context ) is the cause of the very VIGHNAS - to destroy which we worship the VIGHNA - HARTA ! Re - Cycling is the very basis of Nature and of the traditional lifestyle of the Indian \ Bhaaratwaasi.


Can the PoP idols be converted ( Re-Cycled by pulverising etc...) into something  innovative  and useful to society - providing some income to a few poor people  - till we are able to , hopefully, do away with PoP ?

YUVA, an NGO at Khargar, is already converting construction debris into the interlocking paving blocks- and PoP is also such a material. Can they help ?

Our ancient sages formulated rituals, customs, festivals on very sound
scientific and ecological basis with a view to ensure that ' Work became
Worship ' - ignorance of this was compounded by ' vested interests' .This
led to a blind belief in rituals, poojas, festivals and ' Worship became
Work ! '
What ( not Who) is G-O-D ? It is an acronym for

*G *enaration \ Creation \ Birth, *O *peration \Sustenance \ maintenance \
Life, *D *estruction\ Dissolution \ Death governed by the symbolic GODS
Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively.This happens every moment, i.e '
Change alone is Constant, Absolute and Permanent. Therefore, said the wise
sages, DO NOT CLING \ GET ATTACHED - to anything ! This TRUTH was sought to
be conveyed, subtly, especially to children, through the Ganesh Festival
wherein a cute, colourful, little idol of Ganpati was merrily brought
home.Generous merriment and feasting on sweets ( modaks etc) happened in
the name of the Lord ! Then the idol was immersed in a water body. Even this
self procured ' joy ' had to be given away ! What control can we have on the
unexpected \ uninvited ' joys & sorrows' ? The chant ' Pudhchya Varshee
Lavkar Yaa ' emphasised the cyclic nature of all events !
This was sustainable and relevant when the idols were made of local
materials, worshipped with local flowers and leaves ( that had fallen down
after they had done their ' Dharma ' of Photosynthesis and Pollination) and
immersed in the local water body.Our large scale celebrations only Linearise
this simple Cyclical process and make it a real nuisance for all involved !
Instead of visiting the trees for worship ( meant to prevent their
destruction) we bring home their branches, flowers ( Dasara, Vatapournima
etc) and discard them as garbage ! What Piety ! !

Thus, we create the VIGHNA s (obstacles) and then try to ' bribe' the VIGHNA
- HARTA ( Lord Ganesh) to remove ( Hara) them ! Let us motivate children to
make their own cute little Ganpatis, paint them and immerse them in a bucket
of water. this can be used to water and nourish the plants in their garden !

Can I have contact details( ph. no. and E Mail ID please ) of the ' good Dr. Sangole ' ? Please feel free to give me a call.
Eagerly awaiting your reply AND keen on meeting you personally.
Yours Nature - Ally,
Ramanand Kowta




From: Sadhana Kale


Respected Dr. Vijay Sangole, received your mail regarding VISARGAN of Ganesh idol and the interest you have been taking to reduce the pollution, I would like to give my suggestion as under.


1. As far as possible make people alert how it is advisable to purchase clay idols, also write to govt. bodies to make rules while allowing artistes to make clay idols.


2. To avoid pollution, make only one idol in one area. however there should be an alternative for the artistes for their earnings.


Hope my suggetions you would upto your satisfaction.


sadhana kale




A few ideas for eco-friendly Ganeshostav

An ice Ganesha
A Ganesha drawn with rice or leaves or flowers only
A Ganesh set up with laser lights

Usha Chandrasekhar




The Plaster of Paris remains of the Ganapati Idols should be crushed to
powder and recycled, because by heating, it can be reused.

The deep sea immersion will pollute sea water and sea bed. It is not going
to dissolve in water.

Actually, people should be pursuaded not to immerse the Ganapati Idols, but
to recycle the clay in a respectable manner.

The flowers etc should be recycled as garden compost.

......Gajanan Wamanacharya




while praying God, one should not offend the earth and its
creatures....your work is creative and exemplary,
bravo...all should follow your creative constructive
action ....
project director





Dear Sir,

I think your efforts are commendable and I hope more and more people will
be using artificial wells for idol immersion to prevent pollution of our
lakes and oceans.

I am not an expert on the subject but after coming accross your problem
regarding disposal of plaster of paris idols I did some search on the
internet and came across this site,


Plaster of paris is hemihydrated Calcium Sulfate CaSO4.1/2H2O.

This converts back to hydrated Calcium Sulfate CaSO4.2H2O, i.e. crystaline
Gypsum after dissolving in water and hardening, as is done in the idol
making process.

Since, as per the above website, Gypsum is soluble in water (2gms per
Litre) and is good for the soil, it seems a good idea to put them in
controlled quantities into flowing irrigation canals that would slowly
dissolve away the Gypsum. This water, in turn, would be beneficial to the
plants when used for irrigation.

However, a proper scientific study should be conducted to verify the above
observation before putting it into practice.

Thanking you.

Yours truly,

Susmit Sen
Center for Mechatronics
IIT Kanpur




From: Ramesh Parikh


Today I got an email from USA with pictures criticising  Hindu practices and showing left over Ganpati idols which floated back on sea shores being moved by a bull dozer. Some of the idols are big and intact. This stains our country's as well as religious feelings apart from creating eco problems.


The best way is for the Govt. to erect strong-perhaps permanent- jettys on sea shores where the idols are immersed and then to load all the idols with a limited nos. of devotees on flat barges and immerse them in deep sea waters.


Such a project will also save lives of persons who get drowned while immersing idols.


The cost of doing this is negligible.


Ramesh Parikh




From: Sushil Jain


Most eco-friendly way is through education - wisdom education -

creating awareness on truth, rules of life. 


This can be done very effectively by arranging sessions for LACGs, other associations....






From: François-Xavier Hay

Cc: Manisha Gutman


Dear Dr Vijay,

100% aligned on this requirements! it is strongly required to sensitize people on such an issue. And Ganesh Festival is just one of the festivals having a sad impact on mother nature.


In Pune, a new ecofriendly company has just popped up and is particularly answering such issues in a very friendly - sustainable - scalable manner.

just click http://www.e-coexist.com/ . This year ecoexist marketed at very ecofriendly prices beautiful ganeshas done in clay and natural colors. At holi festival ecoexist colors are also ecofriendly.


Happy EcoFriendly Ganesh Festival

Best Regards

FX Hay

UpLift India Association (Pune)




From: K GP




Only Clay idols must be allowed




From: "Krishan Mitroo" <kmitroo@...>

My Dear Dr. Sangole, Jt.Secretary PSCF LACG

My suggestion is not only for the immersion of Lord Ganesh's statues,
it is also for the immersion of Ma Durga's immersion.

Suggestion is - After the ritual, recover the statues from the
river/sea, Crush the statues and mix it in building material material
for the construction of buildings.

The crush can bring good luck to the user & occupant.

Sqn Ldr Krishan Mitroo (Retd.)
MBA (Disaster Management).




From: Gordon


Kudos to you guys you have done so much by way of alternatives and truly

very local and environmental friendly moves.  I suggest we make a move

towards clay idols and how about paper maiche idols ?


Most important of all is education on the safer alternatives, through TV

Radio and instructions in schools so the young minds too can build up

a distaste for the plaster of paris ones.



J. D'Silva




From: Nandita Shah


I think this is a good idea, but I think its better to put PoP idols into a land fill rather than kill deep sea marine life.

I think that

  1. govt should put a ban on PoP idols – only clay should be allowed.
  2. there should be a size restriction – the smaller it is the better
  3. Any ornaments made of cloth / metal / plastic or anything but clay should be removed before immersion

    If there was a law for next year (which means someone should work on it right away), this nuisance of pollution can be rid.

    Nandita Shah




From: Prakash Karandikar


Greetings for Ganesh Festival !

Anything which is in accordance with the scriptures proves to be ideal and beneficial. If the idol of Lord Ganesh is sculpted as per the science of spirituality, then it gives maximum benefit to those worshipping it. Unfortunately nowadays, idols are made of various forms and shapes based on one's liking and imagination without taking into account the science behind the idol.

Special series of videos and articles on celebrating Ganesh Festival as per science and avoiding Mal Practices during the festival are available at


Please pass on the message to near and dear ones. Let's celebrate Ganesh Festival in ideal way and avoid the malpractices which hurts the Lord!

Video Series (Video commentary is in Marathi):

  1. Installation and Immersion of Ganesh idol
  2. Malpractices in Ganesh immersion procession
  3. Science behind Ganesh idols (Part 1)
  4. Science behind Ganesh idols (Part 2)
  5. Malpractices in the Ganesh Festival: Part 1
  6. Malpractices in the Ganesh Festival: Part 2
  7. Shocking video of Ganesh Immersion

Some Articles:

  1. Why is Ganesh idol made of clay only scientific?
  2. Why is Ganapati with the right Sided trunk not commonly worshipped?
  3. What are the incarnations of Lord Ganesh in each yug?
  4. Why Lord Ganesh is easily appeased?
  5. Scientific Chaturthi rituals
  6. Common Doubts and scientific Spiritual Clarification

Also see: Sattvik Image of Lord Ganesh, Sattvik idol of Ganesh


Jay Sree Ganesh

To have Pride in Hindutva
Visit  www.hindujagruti.org




From: conservation india


Dear Dr Sangole,


I recd a mail from Karamyog and  am very impressed by the work the organisation is doing,specially the  Ganesh Visarjan under controlled conditions.This is a great example of public participation and community conservation.and can be replicated all over the country.


I take the liberty of sharing some of my views and some work that I do on a public


I work on some of the issues listed out  by  Karamyog and try to reach out with information and simple solutions thru my programme Earth Matters which is broadcast on National TV network of Door Darshan on every Sunday and repeated on DD News in the evening on Sunday.


Water pollution and the lethal heavy metals in paints used on idols is one of the issues that we have repeatedly emphasized...what ever we put in our rivers and water systems end in our food chain.The heavy metals used in paints have reached our food chain affecting our health and those of our children.Even fish from the ocean have been found to be carrying lead and mercury ...


Alternative ways of reverence and farewell to idols have to be looked at if we are to prevent poisoning ourselves .


and your artificial wells are the best way and a viable solution.


Plastic of Paris is difficult to neutralise and given the number of idols a possible solution that could be looked at is that once  the paint has separated from the idols,the flaked off paint  can be collected from the wells for processing and safe disposal.The plaster casts of the idols can then be salvaged for reuse . Keeping the sentiments and  reverence of millions in mind a viable solution that can be looked at is the construction of a Ganesh Ji Temple in with the recovered plaster mixed with other bonding material.


This could be in area where suitable land or park or community land is available.A nana nani Ganesh Park??


It could go a long way in minimising the amount of heavy metals and other poisonous substances that go in the production of modern paints from reaching our food chain.


Tragic that we have moved to plastic paints, plaster of Paris and aluminium wiring instead of the traditional mud and clay , natural paints and bamboo  which were harmless and used to disintegrate on contact with water.


warmest regards

mike pandey

Earth Matters Foundation

New Delhi 110048






From: "Gooloo Khambatta" <gooloo.khambatta@...>

well we were up most of the night on the first day of ganpati when fire
crackers and loud music,were making NOISE POLLUTION AT 2.45 TO

i thought no noise after 10pm. then what happened.
none of us could sleep and all this noise should be stopped. also the
immersion should be kept at specific places only now. as we need to save and
conserve our water.and let it NOT GET POLLUTED WITH ALL THIS. our oceans
need to be looked after too.

have a one day festival.

prayers will be heard everyday, if said properly and with meaning. you don't
need to do all this.




From: AC Boyatkar


PRANPRATISHTHA of idols has great meaning.


Half-dissolved idols made from plaster of paris is not correct .




Clay means MATI. MA means mother AAI & TI stands for shakti. Hence clay idiols are always have power after pranpratisha than of plaster of paris.


After death our body becomes MATI NOT PLASTER OF PARIS.


We must create awareness in people.  




Dy. C.E.
Engineering Dept., MPD.
(O) Tel:- 091-022-2626 3283
(O) Fax:-091-022-6157046
email: ac.boyatkar@... 




Re: Ideas needed for eco-friendly alternatives to Ganpati immersion


From: mani bathija

Since last 3/4 yrs i hv been attending GANAPATI first day festival at ADV., JAYAKARS residence

adv.jaykar has been personally drawing the image of LORD GANAPATI  with a chalk n filling the image with rice (RAW) grains n the image of ganapati comes out beautifully

secondly v can hv a big container made out n fill it with water n inform the people to imerse the statue in the container which can b emptied every time interval as the need be n the contains kept in storage in covered area n suitablly destroyed




In regards to the subject matter, the first hand idea come to our mind (not an expert on this subject) are

(with the religious emotion not to be hampered)

1) Size of idols to be restricted, so as to restrict the use of material (quantity), also the huge size damages the overhead wires etc.

2) Area wise restrict the permission to limited mandals. whereby reduces the numbers

3) Use of clay vs plaster of paris as suggested

4) Immersion in artificial wells as suggested

5) The artist to be made licence holder and they to be govern by rules & regularion and guidlines, so as to have a control point.

Zoher Doctor




Why cannot the government ban plaster of paris Idols like it has banned plastic bags?


Also, while clay may be an eco friendly material, it may  not be a natural material for the ocean ????


I would appreciate any feedback on this.



Priti Turakhia




Dear all

Shidhi Vinayak Namo Namah


As far as idea is concerned 'concerning immersion' my personal opinion is one should go in for buying a silver or gold idol as big or as small according to the capacity of the purse/bank balance.

 # 1 by doing so there will be total devotion to the diety

# 2 by doing so there will be total emotional attachment

# 3 by offering daily prayer to the same idol on regular basis will enhance the intuition level

# 4 the cofidence level will be high

#  5 there will be every scope for making the idol big and bigger every year by adding more gold or silver as the case may be

#  6 I believe this will add more peace, more unity in the family system and above all bring all members of the family together and at one place during puja

#  7 the huge spending will also get minimised and the money collected can be used for development

#  8 the PROSPERITY level will rise

#  9 the POLLUTION level will come to a naught 

#  10 there will be only flowers and nature's product for immersion and can be easily recycled.


Hope  my ideas do not hurts the sacred feelings of the millions and millions of people.

Let Sidhi Vinayak be with us for PEACE, PROSPERITY, PROGRESS


Shidhi Vinayak Namo Namah

With regards





Re:Ideas needed for eco-friendly alternatives to Ganpati immersion


Would it not be possible for the BMC to create artificial pools (like the inflatable swimming pools) at places of

immersion and encourage the public to immerse the small idols at least in these pools instead of the ocean / natural lakes etc.??



Priti Turakhia




From: V Narayan


Ecofriendly immersion has become  popular  around our area due to good work done by Dr Sangole and his team from the Pestom Sagar forum.


Next  item on the agenda is to motivate citizens to use CLAY IDOLS  with ecofriendly vegetable colors.It will dissolve  and the water can be used for watering plants. We intent to identify  the source and  help the citizens in procuring.






From: Samavedana Samavedana


Deep seas may no longer remain deep in the long run. We are putting so many things into it.

Can we not recycle POP? Any medium to dissolve it & remould?

Any research? any solution?


Preeti Damle.




Dear Dr.Sangole,

Greetings from The Synodical Board of Health
Services,(The SBHS) Church of North India,(CNI) New

We are working in the field of community health &
HIV/AIDS. I work as the Co-ordinator for these
programmes.I was very impressed to read your email.I
appreciate what you are doing.It is much needed & we
need to not only understand what means by being
eco-friendly but we all have to join hands together.As
far as the sentiments of the people are concerned I am
sure everyone understands---"Sentiments means
people....when people disappear sentiments
automatically disappear" so its the people who have to
live and let live.
Best wishes for your efforts.Please keep it up.
Karuna Roy
Co-ordinator The SBHS,CNI
New Delhi




Recd your mail and are happy to know that people are aware of eco-friendly Ganesh Visarjan. This is just for your info that we run a worshop for the autistic and mentally challenged young adults at Mahalaxmi, Mumbai. We make eco-friendly, biodegradable patraveli plates and bowls which are very useful during festivals. You can contact us at 23513735/23524463 for more details.




For:Shraddha Charitable Trust

Workshop for the autistic and mentally challenged




From: BharatJanVigyan Jatha


Dear Dr Sangole,


Very interesting work.


This reminds me, some 10 years ago, a group of children working for their National Children's Sc. project (of which I was the national convenor then), worked on this problem in Thane, and worked out intersting solution after proper study.


I am copying this mail to the maharashtra coordinator Shri Surendra Dighe, who helped in that work thru their orgn. JIDNYASA. Hopefully, they can connect with your effort and something good can come out.



S. Dutta - Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha





Dr.Vijay Sangole MBBS

Jt. Secretary PSCF LACG


We appreciate ur awareness & efforts.


Frankly speaking steps should b taken to diisuade people from going in for huge idols in the first place.


Idols made of plaster of Paris do not dissolve in water but also the chemicals used in colours endanger the flora and fauna of any water source including the sea like the aquatic plants and fish and other living organisms in water. 


So stop immersion in the sea. 


As per Vedanta idol after uttar pooja has no sanctity whatsoever. It is akin to a human body sans life. 


People instead should be persuaded to opt for idols made of silver or pancha dhatu that need not be immersed. Instead a coconut or supari could be immersed that easily decompose. 


One of the classic examples of Visarjan ruin is Talao Pali of Thane whose depth is now 9 ft against 19 ft. originally. 10 ft. is all plaster of Paris debris. Let the same be not the fate off all water bodies in our city. 

We haveno right to kill life at the cost of worship.








From: Bajaj Kiran

The idol should be small and 100% eco friendly then it can be immersed in the deep sea.


Kiran Bajaj




From: Joyce C


This festival destroys the eco-system in the  air, water and land.  The firecrackers pollute the air, the noise disturbs the peace (we have very little of it left on planet earth) both for senior citizens and infants and the idol pollutes the waters destroying the living organisms in the seas.
It is a shame that inspite of developments in technology and science, educated people both doctors and engineers indulge in this festival totally unconcerned about its devastating effects on this planet.  We r aware of what goes on in the remotest corner of this world thro the TV and yet we do not learn that such celebrations r not needed to appease any God.  Every mth we r bombarded with some festival or the other which has nothing but loads of noise and chaos!!  The kite festival harms every bird and humans too, yet  who cares!!  When will we learn to live as humans!! and enjoy ourselves as sane human beings!!!!
Today I was very pleased and thanked God for an article in the BT pg1 'Lokhandwala residents have eco-cool Ganpati'!  Hope every sane individual esp the intellectuals read it and educate the illiterate.
Ms. J. Cardozo



From: Ramani P.H.Subramanian


Dear Dr. Vijay  Singh:


This  year  at  Srirang  Society,  Thane  west,  where   a   large  artificial  pool  was  created for  Ganesh  Visarjan   which  proved  beneficial  to  all  the  citizens  of  Thane.


I  do not  personally  agree  with  the  lessening  of  the  noise  pollution  which  was  visible with  lot  of band  bazaa.  What  was  heartening  to  see that separate  dust  bins  were  provided  to  dump  the  flowers  and  other  paraphernalia  accompanied  with  the  visarjan.  We  appreciate  the   eco-friendly  steps  being  iniitiated  under your  dynamic  direction.


Thane  does  not  boast  idols  of  the  size  of  Lalbaug  Raja  // Bhandup  Raja   and  hence  I  am  unable  to  contribute  towards  your  query  of  plaster  of   paris  getting  undissolved  , collecting  these  idols  and  dumping  them  at  the deep sea.  I personally  feel,  Govt  should  come  out  with  clarity  on  these  environmental  issues  to  safeguard  our  environment  on  collective  front  rather than  miniscule  associations /  group  of  persons  coming  together  for  this   noble  cause.




Subramanian - 98211 21708




From: Nidhi Pundhir


I very much appreciate this initiative of yours. At a personal level I have always wondered if any one is studying the impact of these year after year Ganpati / Durga ma visarjanas. On one hand these are some of the social customs which bring people together and crucial from cultural perspective, on the other hand there is an environment caution. I congratulate you for taking a step further in this regard.

Best Regards,

Nidhi Pundhir

Technical Advisor Child Rights

Plan International (India)



From: Maya Mahajan


Its really a good initiative. You may tell people the source of eco-friendly idols ie made up of clay, coconut, or paper. You may find some artist who supplies clay idols. We need to Say No to Plaster of Paris idols. Instead of immersing PP idols into sea, we may use the same idols in the next year after painting them.

Pls see the attachment for wider circulation


Thanks and regards


Dr. Maya Mahajan

Godrej Mangrove Centre







From: Dinesh Kochrekar


More and More Ganpati Mandals figures are increasing, will be very difficult to handle the situation in future.


1. We need to stop giving new permissions to Ganpati Mandals.

2. Also need to take some charges from all Ganpati mandals to clean the Lakes and ponds.

3. As we have stop manufacturing plastic bags need to stop making Plaster of Paris idols we have to do advertising for the same wihtout hurting sentiments of people. 





From: vinods


Dear Sir,
Where as the efforts taken by you will have some impact amny of my friends havr started the practice of keeping metal idols, say silver or bronze. The rituals for sthapna and puja are the same.On the visargan day afetr bthe aarti the idol is taken out side the home the immersion is done in a clean water in a new bucket.The idol is brought in side cleaned and kept in the same box with akshat.The above practice may not be appliocable to sarvajanik Ganpatis but can be practiced for homes,this will make the festival truly ecofriendly and avoid fouling of lakes etc.I think we should give this practice a serious thought.

Vinod Sud.





I have been thinking of the same for qutie a long time and after a long
thought i came out with a conclusion that How if we could motivate people of
Preparing "Edible Ganpati". This ganpati would be made of "Atta" and other
things made of somewhat same things.
The benefit of having made Edible Ganpati would be:
1. water bodies would not be harmed.
2. Lives of lacs of fish which die each year would be saved, after Ganpati
immersion due to the toxic paints which mix up in the sea.
3. It does not have any environmental problems since it is very safe and
does not cause any kind of environmental pollution.

So it would be great if you could motivate people to make edible





hi! this is a very noble concern.i was wondering if idols can be made of recyclable stuff or clay only..can't there be a state order to ban usage of plaster of paris in creating idols or celebrate on colony basis only.






with due regards to religious sentiments, some hard decisions too are to be taken in the interest of limiting factors. one such is stop/ban manufacture of Plaster of Paris idols. saying stop pujan of Plaster of Paris idols would arouse sentiments.


uma mohan

Chartered accountant




One of the ways is to have a permanent idol and not have visarjan at all. The same idol can be used every year...The visarjan can be replaced by simply community functions/get togethers..After all community participaytion and our own faith is what counts.


Dnyanesh Sovani




 this is an important and difficult job. Hindus pollute with ganesha's owing to a lack of awareness and also because they feel that there are no such curbs on Muslims. the fact that the environment that we live in is more important than religion must be drilled into children from a very early age.


 the good news is that a lot of the younger generation believe in protecting the environment- making smaller ganesh's etc. they must now come into decision making positions.


a tougher but shorter way is to educate politicians.



rammohan rao e





Its nice to know your great efforts on retaining the spirutual / culturual values without compromising on the eco system. If one would go back, the entire system was a system that is in tune with nature ie they have used clay and that is dissolved automatically.Now with this POP things become complex.... So what do we say? Go back to older tradition ? or retain the modern POP but yet work around? ..Well i guess your question would be using POP and still work around. :)...if we could go to the old systems, things becomes simple... Are we interested? :)

Good work and pls continue the good work.:)






From: Vineeta Shetty


The idea needs to penetrate to the grassroots that Ganesha represents our own cellular structure, in fact he was created out of the skin that sloughed off Parvati's body. It is an abomination to build him out of materials that do not return him to his origins so he returns the next year. Calls for some astute public messages from concerned bodies.





Dear Friends,

It is very sensitive and important issue.

This year we have decided not to build idols and we have installed only paper photographs which we can immerse after the festival is over. Paper is fast degrading and less harmful. And all these rituals are symbolic so there should not be any problem is people of good moral and sensitive to ecology come together and let common man know about the problems faced by such massive immersions.

Or all idols should be made of clay only and no other material should be allowed as this is only for 10 days with us.

This are my personal views.


Dr Vikram Patel
Muni Seva Ashram




Dear Dr. Vijay Sangole,

                                    Congratulations for the great work for helping save nature and thereby our mother earth. I suggest that the collected undissolved Idol parts should be handed over to the Idol makers who can utilise it may be after some kind of processing them. The recycling thus would prevent them going in the sea. They might be happy to get the raw material for their work. Only question is if it is possible at all to process it them making them suitable for reuse. Can some one suggest if it is possible?

                                            dr. divya mithel




Hello Doctor ,

         This indeed is a good idea .What we really need is awareness among citizens for such initiatives.

        Once this idea is implemented by one samiti rest will feel an obligation to follow this. Traffic ease , pollution control and well managed festivals are need of the hour.






Dear Mr Vijay

I have a store called Dhoop - for indian craft and tribal art and we are
also very big on eco friendly materials.

This year we have launched a range of Ganpati's in clay and have an imp
message we'd like to share with people.

Attached is a write up on our Ganeshas

I also have a sweet little terrace space in my store, so if you feel like
you'd like to bring together a group of like-minded people to sit and share
views and have a meeting I'd be happy to offer my space


Dhoop, 101 Khar Sheetal Apts, Corner of Union Park and Ambedkar Rd, Khar
West, Mumbai 400052
Tel: 022-65819351/2
Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival celebrated by several Indian communities in
the country as well as abroad. One of the major challenges of this festival
has been the water pollution caused by the immersion of the Plaster of Paris
Ganesh idols.

Dhoop supports and proposes an eco sensitive alternative to Plaster of
Paris. Going back to the traditional use of natural clay ( known as 'shaadu'
in Maharashtra), our completely natural Ganesh idols also do not use any
chemical paints. The raw grey idols are finished using a variety of natural
earths such as Multani mitti, Geroo and natural dyes such as turmeric and
beetroot. Water soluble paints are only used to delineate the eyes of the

These beautiful idols have been made in the village of Pen by traditional

Our idols do not exceed a height of 12 inches since we would like to
encourage people to use smaller idols. The natural clay that these idols are
made out of comes from Gujarat and West Bengal. Like all natural resources,
there has to be a sustainable use of natural clays and this is why it is
important that we limit the size of our idols.

These natural Ganesh idols are completely biodegradable and we advise you to
immerse them in a bucket of water in your own homes. The water can be used
for potted plants or in your garden.




Dear Sir,

The Best way to solve the problem is to recycle the
Idols after powdering them and selling to gypsum board
manufacturers. Nearly 25% of the raw material that
could be used in Gypsum Board manufacture can be from
recycled plaster of paris waste from al sources
including ganesha idols.
After immursion is over dry these powder them and
dehydrate at 120 - 170 degree centigrade and reuse
them. Even dumping then in deep sea may result in
posionous fish production.
People should be convinced to have as a first step one
ganesh per 10000 population and gradually a permanent
Ganesha idol. As far as I am concerned I really dont
know which Hindu scripture has presecibed the worship
of Plaster of Paris, Plastic and other forms of
Ganesha? If worship Ganesh in a Temple is it mot
adequate. If the idol can be painted with paints
containing cacinogens then these people should eat the
same paint as prasadam.
I am also attaching a US patent on Gypsum recycling
We are taking WOrld Bank Loan for silt removal and
reconstruction of tanks and if we have to fill them
with IDOls in the name of rituals even god cannot save



From: kanu somany


Is it possible to try and create awareness instead about the use of PoP and toxic paints, and go back to using traditional clay idols?

Awareness may take time and effort to create, but the diwali crackers have greatly reduced over the years with schools taking up the issue with children at an impressionable age.

Only long term solution...




We sincerely thank U & appreciate yr line of action in respect of eco -friendly immersions of Ganapati, specially yr very considerate efforts to collect the undissolved idols of Ganapati , then take them to the deep sea for immersions after Ganeshotsav.


U are doing a mo0st commendable job for the entire humanity in this way.


Please keep it up !


Rgds/ S C Gupta.

Mumbai .

tel : 982 05 876 09




The objective is laudable.  Difficulty arises because of people's belief and their ignorance about the need to preserve clean air and clean water.  In Calcutta and suburbs, idols are made of clay and the structure is made of bamboo and straw.  After immersion the structure is recollected by people, who sell them to artisans for reuse of some kind.  Straw gets dissolved with time, but still causes pollution and damage to aqualife when idols are immersed in ponds and lakes, i.e., non-flowing water, in inland areas.  But the real culprit are the inorganic chemicals that are used in making dyes and paints.  These even cause pollution in the rivers and seas. 


I have one suggestion.  I understand that technology is known to obtain colouring compounds (pigments and dyes) from flowers and vegetables.  I am given to understand that these are made out of waste flowers collected from temples and markets, and hence not only these compounds are bio-degradable but their use is safe for human skins, etc.  While it may not be possible for this technology to multiply fast and make available so much quantity of pigments and dyes, with time and with proper financial backing and technological research-cum-development it should be possible to switch over nearly hundred percent over a period of time.  Use of flowers will also help in checking pollution as these are normally dumped and allowed to rot.  I have tried to make some entrepreneurs interested in using organic colours, but have failed so far. 
Prabir Biswas




From: Mouth & Foot Painting Artists


Dear Dr.Vijay Sangole,

 It is indeed a very nice thought, I may be wrong but people should be charged a very huge amount to immerse in the sea and if they do the immersions in the temp. tanks then it is absolutely free. This would help a bit and these temp. tanks should be placed at the beach only. The govt. should also levy a huge tax on statues made of  plaster of paris and the ones made of clay should be tax free. Those whose statues are of clay should be allowed to immerse in the sea at no cost.

 I again say that I may be wrong but again we are just trying to think so that we do not hurt peoples sentiments and simultaneously save the environment.

 RgdsGirish S. Kabra

 Physically able or disabled, we are all the same on the inside. All of us have similar aspirations and expectations from life, but what makes us different is the way we live our life. What makes us different is the attitude with which we play this game called life.




From: Raqshita Mehta


agree wholeheartedly with you..
Bio-degradable material to be used
nowhere in the world people spoil their sea the amount we do..
govt shd make mandatory use of bio-degr material else no puja allowed.
but who will bell the cat?



From: Rustom Dadabhoy


Even if plastic sheets are used to line these so called artificial water bodies, there is bound to be leakages into the ground thereby forming leachate and contamination of ground water. The toxic paints used for these idols are water/oil based and can only harm the ground condition.




From: Surendra Dighe


Cc: BharatJanVigyan Jatha



Dear All,

It's really nice to hear Eco friendly ganpati festival from all corners of the society. We have started this movement on the basis of a science project, undertaken by our child scientists in 1997. this project was basically for National children Science Congress, a nation wide program of NCSTC Network. the findings of the project were published, and the child scientists were honored at Indian Science Congress. The main conclusion was that the Ganpati idols are made of POP which is a non degradable material. due to immersion of Ganpati idols tons of POP drooped in the lake which ultimately affect the lake and it's aquatic biodiversity. On the basis of this project, Jidnyasa Trust had started social movement,and after nearly ten years peoples have accepted this fact.


Our solution is not to immersed the idols at all. One can worshiped the idols,and then can kept in ones home only. this movement is done only through students and we are getting more and more support for this.


making of a clay idols or immersion in  Artificial lake or ponds are soft options which will not serve the purpose in long term.

For further detail you can visit our sight www.jidnyasa.org.in


Surendra dighe.

Surendra Dighe

Managing Trustee

Jidnyasa Trust Thane

2, Jayanand Society,

M. G. Road, Naupada,

Thane - 400 602

Telefax - 022-2540 3857

visit to our site





This is what I think:

Co-operation and awareness among Ganesh Mandals :
Mandals should be encouraged to reduce the size of
idols and use of thermacol. The material used for
making idols should be such which will not pollute the
water. Especially eco friendly colors should be used.
Mandals and celebrities should feel proud in
celebrating ganesh festivals with eco friendly idols.
Also the resources of Mandals should be, at least
partly, used for social purposes such as renovation of
schools/hospitals, fees/ uniforms/textbooks/lunch of
poor school children, medical facilities to people
living in slums etc. instead of wasting on lavish

The immersion problem is there due to the material used
for making idols. Even idols brought home for
worshipping which are immersed only after two days are
made of tough material. As far as plaster of paris is
concerned it should be banned. For time being the
undissolved plaster of paris portion of idols can be
crushed and used in construction. (Orthodox devotees
should not object to this because divinity is
instilled during installation (Pranpratithapana) and
is put off with immersion. After immersion it is no
more a diety.)

Idols can be made from waste paper which can be
recycled. The idol makers should be trained to use eco
friendly material.When such idols are not available in
market one can persuade people to opt for those.

Dumping in oceans can not be a long term measure.

I appreciate the work you are doing.





One way would be to show slides of 'broken limbs' of the Ganesha Idols that are washed ashore -- over Television,on Railway Platforms, on a continous basis till the Immersion day and on  Big sceens at Immersion sites on immersion days. Appeal to the religious sentiments of the people and request them to buy only small idols made of Mud.

Another method would be to discourage the people from immersing Plaster of Paris idols and ask them to dump it at pre determined sites from where the idols can be collected and crushed or recycled into Plaster  of  Paris.In collaboration with Manufacturers of Plaster of Paris devise a buy back scheme of the idols, the value arrived at could be adjusted against next years purchase.

Going in for paper mache idols could be another alternative.






The other alternative is to educate the people to have Ganpati NOT made out of plaster of Paris. My 7 years old son insisted to have a eco friendly Ganpati this year. We searched around and had a Ganpati made from clay, paper and vegetable dyes colours. There was no difference that one could make out. I am told this type of idol take just 30 minutes to mingle with the environment rather than 2 year which plaster of paris takes.


The path is difficult but the way is to educate the children in schools so that they insist to their parents to bring ecofriendly Ganpatis - not made out of plaster of paris in their homes.



Yogesh Sawhney
Ipsa Texchem Private Limited
Ph: 9819815690




Re: Ideas needed for eco-friendly alternatives to Ganpati immersion


Every year, during the beginning of the festive season, groups concerned
about the ecological impact of festivals come up with ideas promoting more
environmentfriendly celebrations.

During this Ganeshotsav too, a few such ideas were introduced by community
associations and organisations campaigning for safer festivals. In Powai,
Ganesh idols moulded from silt dug up from Powai were offered as an
alternative to the environmentally destructive, but popular Plaster of Paris
idols. In Chembur, a group of residents had dug up an artificial pool in
their neighbourhood to immerse idols so that the statues that are covered in
toxic paint do not end up destroying lakes and other natural water bodies.

In Thane, a group considered idols made of clay that are relatively kinder
to water bodies than Plaster of Paris. Other alternatives were statues made
of paper and smaller idols using less of the toxic mix that often goes into
the making of Ganesh statues. One idea that has been suggested to families
keeping idols at home is to use a metal idol instead of buying a new one
every year. The idol can be symbolically immersed in water bodies and then
carried back home for the next year's festivities.

For many years, the central association of Ganesh mandals, along with
the police and the municipal corporation, have been trying to convince
mandals to keep the size of the idols small, both for convenience and also
as a consideration to the environment. This year, mayor Shubha Raul too
appealed for smaller idols.

However, this year's festivities prove that many of these concepts are
yet to grab the common man's attention. An example is in Parel, the centre
of the Ganesh festivities in the city, where a person has been trying to
promote, with mixed success, paper decorations as an alternative to
thermocol or polyfoam ornamentation. Though relatively more expensive than
thermocol decorations that end up as flotsam on water bodies, the paper
adornments are bio-degradable and thus safer for the environment.

The middling success achieved by these groups shows that for reasons
ranging from callousness of citizens to lack of environmentfriendly
materials, the concept of environment-friendly festivals is yet to take off.
In fact, a group in Thane distributes idols made of paper pulp dyed with
natural colours free of cost, to persuade people to buy such statues the
next time. A Thane group promoting the use of clay idols too ran out of clay
before they could make enough statues. Despite fervent appeals, more idols
this year are topping 30 feet and it is estimated that more than 125 idols
in the city will tower over 15 feet.

Another concern during the festival is noise levels. Despite limitations
on the use of loudspeakers at night and designation of some areas as
'Silence Zones', the police has a mixed record of enforcing the rules.
Readings of noise levels last year made by Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz
Foundation, a group campaigning against noise pollution, showed that while
police were effective in keeping noise levels within permissible limits up
to 10 pm, the noise of loudspeakers beyond this time limit exceeded the
maximum permissible levels. The readings also indicate that noise levels
from firecrackers and musical instruments in silence zones after the 10 pm
deadline exceed permissible levels.

Manoj R Nair

Publication:Mumbai Mirror; Date:Sep 18, 2007; Section:Views; Page Number:31




This year, make sure that your Ganesh idol does not damage the natural environment.

ECoexist brings you completely biodegradable idols, made using natural clay and painted with natural materials such as multani mitti, geroo and turmeric. These idols have been hand sculpted by the traditional Ganesh sculptors in Pen, Maharashtra. They have been brought to you by eCoexist, whose aim is to develop eco sensitive products through socially sensitive means.

To take a look at the 15 varieties that we have prepared this year go to www.e-coexist.com
To place an order or for enquiries write to us at ecoexist@... or call us at 09850084383
PS: (For this year, the idols are available in Pune and Mumbai only!)

Whats all the fuss about?
Over the past decades, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi has grown both in popularity and scale. One of the problems created by the modern form of celebrating this festival, is the use of Plaster of Paris idols. These idols, when immersed in natural water bodies, such as lakes, rivers and the sea, pollute the water. The chemical paints used in painting the idols release toxic substances such as mercury and lead into the water, damaging both the life forms that live in these water bodies, as well as the people who drink this water.
What is the solution ?
Taking the advice of environmental groups, eCoexist has been promoting the return to the traditional material used for making the idol : natural clay or shaadu in Marathi. We also advise our customers to immerse the idol in a bucket of water at home rather than in lakes, rivers or the sea. Once the idol has completely dissolved ( clay dissolves within a matter of hours) , this water can be used in the garden or to water potted plants, without causing any damage.
Yet, since natural clay itself is a natural resource which has to be used wisely, we also encourage our clients to choose smaller idols, thereby reducing the amount of natural clay mined for use.
The cycle of Life in Nature
Few of us know that the original tradition during Ganesh Chaturthi was to mould one's own idol, from the clay outside one's home, worship this form of God for a period of ten days and then return the idol to where it came from : the earth. This cycle represents the cycle of life and death in Nature.
Plaster of Paris is not a natural material and takes months sometimes years to dissolve completely. By using natural clay idols, one is respecting the 'impermanence' in Nature and allowing the cycle to be complete immediately.

Supporting Indian artisans
The community of sculptors who reside in Pen, Maharashtra are renowned for the beauty of the idols they design and produce. This ancient form of sculpture has been kept alive by this community who prepare for this festival for months before it arrives. As more and more people become aware of the hazards of Plaster of Paris, the community needs to develop alternatives that are eco sensitive and yet allow them to continue their profession. So far, these sculptors have found it difficult to sell clay idols, which are heavier, more fragile as well as more expensive than Plaster of Paris ones.
ECoexist has also taken on the challenge of creating a market for such idols by actively promoting the concept amongst its customers. Eventually as more and more cities move towards prohibiting the use of Plaster of Paris, eCeoxist hopes to help the community of sculptors turn back to a traditional and more eco sensitive form of sculpture.

Here is a video showing how natural clay Ganesh idols are made...

You may enjoy watching this, showing it to your children and forwarding to family and friends...
Recognising clay
Here are a few clues for you to ensure that the idol you have bought is really a natural clay idol, even after it has been painted.
Natural clay idols are :

  1. Heavier than PoP. A quick test to compare the two will help you decide.
  2. Grey in colour . Turn the idol upside down to check its original colour. Hollow idols will be grey within.
  3. More fragile.
  4. More expensive !
  5. Vulnerable to humidity.

Place your order well in advance
Since the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi comes right after monsoon, the sculptors also face another challenge while creating clay idols. They literally dissolve in the humidity of the monsoon! This is why most of the idols are made well in advance during summer and then only painted during the last weeks before the festival. Ecoexist was asked to place an order five months in advance to ensure that there would be idols available this year!
Since this is the first year we are doing this, please place your order with us as soon as you can.

Here's wishing you an ecosensitive Ganesh Chaturthi!
Manisha Gutman

About eCoexist
eCoexist is a social enterprise that aims to produce eco sensitive products through socially sensitive processes. We work with dispriveleged groups such as disabled children, women farmers and prisoners. Our work on Natural Holi colours has recieved a tremendous response from the public. You can read more about us at www.e-coexist.com



It is our belief in God that inspires us to bring Ganeshji at home and
Our sentiments as regards to immersion the idol need utmost care but Noise,
water and Air pollution should also be taken care.

As far as possible,
(1) Better we go for Eco-friendly idols small in size as far as possible
and made of clay rather than Plaster of
(2) Prohibit use of loud speaker in and firecrackers. If at all allowed
prohibit use of loudspeakers before 8 a.m.
And after 10 p.m.
(3) Persons taking part in an immersion procession if found drunk should be
prosecuted and also during return.
(4) During the procession is in progress, prohibit sprinkling of Abil,
Gulal etc. On others by passers.
(5) Ensure that sentiments of those who belong to other religion is taken
due care of.
Kireet Desai




The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has issued several guidelines on how to celebrate an environmentally friendly Ganpati festival.


- Suggested Code of Conduct for Environment friendly immersion of idols (pdf) - http://www.karmayog.org/redirect/strred.asp?docId=9895


- MPCB also undertakes "Monitoring of Nosie Pollution during Ganesh Festival". Report for the year 2006 is at http://www.karmayog.org/redirect/strred.asp?docId=9896


If a regulatory body such as MPCB has already issued guidelines on use of materials, size of idols, appropriate waste disposal methods, noise pollution levels, etc. why are these not being followed?


It appears that the implementing agencies such as the BMC and Police are unable to enforce the rules applicable, because of lack of awareness and support from the public.


Similarly, an institute such as National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), that is a premier research and academic institute in the field of environmental engineering should publicly state the correct scientific facts with recommendations for people / Government to follow so that minimum harm is done to the environment while we celebrate our festivals.


Individual scientists, environmentalists, experts, etc. must also publicly state the scientifically correct view, so that more people are made aware of the harms of celebrating festivals that pollute our world, so that people voluntarily decide to adopt eco-friendly alternatives.





Great Initiative. Congratulations


I feel you should try this initiative in other parts of the country especially with the staring of the festive season

Warm Regards,

Madhumita Sen
Senior Coordinator, International Fund Development
Rotary International South Asia Office 




From: N B H K



In Karnataka some towns, people have started using Lord Ganapati idols without any colour or Chemical used, only made of  earth which is eco-friendly and can be immersed anywhere. It will not affect wells, lakes, rivers, sea.

 Yours sincerely,




Soluble colors ad material to be used so that after immersion, these will get dissolved i the water.

Kishin Chandiramani





The time for ostentatious public display of religious sentiment has passed. All of us need to confine our religious beliefs and practices within the confines of our homes and not bring it to the streets, where it causes tremendous inconvenience to others.


With specific reference to the current Ganesh festival, it is my humble submission that times have changed since Lokmanya Tilak used this occasion to bring people together. He was a great person and no doubt his tactics worked in his era.


The situation at present, however, is vastly different. Right from the manner of collection of funds that borders on extortion, the blocking of roads by the pandals and compounding the already chaotic traffic, the loud music (?) blaring through multiple speakers with scant regards to sensitive eardrums, the crowds where eve-teasers, molesters and pick-pockets have a field day and the overall trouble to the public in general, make this (and other such festivals) grossly outdated.


When floods and other natural calamities ravage our nation, when farmers continue to commit suicide, when hunger and poverty roll on rampantly, do we really need the luxury of fancy lighting and wasteful expenditure?


Let us celebrate Ganesha festival in our homes, with eco-friendly papier-mache idols and genuine devotion to the supreme being.


C. Ravindranath

48-34/2 Vidyanagar

Pune - 411 032

 Phone: 020-27172068 or 9422314642





Dear shri Dr. Vijay Sangole,


Your method of Ganesh idol immersion is laudable. I congratulate you.


In the original scriptures it was stated the idol of Ganesh is to be made of mud. In the modern times it is made of plaster of paris. All the Gannesh mandal are to be requested to install

only mud idols of Ganesh.




BGK. Murthy




Eco-friendly visarjan: Senior citizens lead the way
Citizens create 4 artificial wells in a nana-nani park for Ganpati immersion
in Chembur's Pestom Sagar

T UCKED away in a quiet suburban corner of Chembur's Pestom Sagar, a
nana-nani park saw unusual hustle and bustle on Sunday - the first day of
visarjan. The park was a new venue for many families from Ghatkopar and
Chembur to bid goodbye to the Elephant God this year - resourcefulness of
about 10 senior citizens has seen it turn into an impromptu, eco-friendly
immersion spot.
Concerned about the rising pollution levels in the city's water bodies and
the increasing number of anti-social elements that loiter around the usual
visarjan venues every year, the Pestom Sagar Citizens' Forum has created
four artificial wells for immersing idols.
Eight feet deep and up to 12 feet in diameter, these wells are actually
water tanks, often installed in societies and homes. Says Dr Vijay Sang
hole, a member of the forum,
"The project is sponsored by Prince Containers, who also provided us with
the tanks. Each tank costs around Rs 5,000. Some artists in our locality
helped us design the tanks in such a way that they look like village wells."
The wells have been beautified tastefully with a black stonewall covering. A
pathway laid neatly with interlocking tiles leads to these wells, creating a
traditional village look.
Says Sheetal Sanghole (53), the brain behind the park and a self-confessed
nature lover,
"Till recently, there were three lakes in Chembur that used to meet at one
pointaptly named Teen Talao. For the past few years though, two of the lakes
have died, probably due to regular dumping. Now the land where the lakes
once gurgled has been encroached upon. The only existing lake is fast drying
It was this predicament that had Sanghole build her own mini well in her
backyard five years ago. Tremendous re sponse from friends and other senior
citizens helped forum members build a well in their society last year. "It
was such a big hit that this year we decided to go full-fledged with four
wells in the nana-nani park," she said.
Subash Kulkarni, 62, who had come for immersion along with his family from
Ghatkopar, says, "We are very happy about immersing our idols here-the
ambiance is neat, tidy, systematic, calm and cool-it promotes an atmosphere
of devotion. At the beach or the lakes there is so much of hassle, it's not
just a very unholy atmosphere but also very difficult for old people to
perform visarjan."
For generations, Kulkarni said, his family had been getting clay idols home.
"For us it has been a tradition. We get 'shadoo' (clay) idols, made-to-order
by a local karigar every year. 'Shadoo' doesn't cause any harm to the
environment and dissolves easily."
After the final day of visarjan, the Forum members plan to send all the
plaster of Paris (PoP) wastes to dumping grounds, purify the water and
recycle it in the garden itself. "We are encouraging people to use shadoo
Ganpatis, but those who still use PoP idols are also welcome to immerse in
our wells," Dr Sanghole said. The members are expecting over 1,000
immersions in their wells this year. "If more people come, then next year we
will add a few more wells in the park," added Dr Sanghole.

Publication : IE; Section : MN; Pg : 3; Date : 19/9/07




question on the ganpati immersion issue


even if artificial wells are used to dissolve the POP idols so that the lakes and seas are kept clean, what happens to the semi-dissolved POP that gets collected in the artificial wells? Where is this eventually thrown - and it must be quite a large quantity?





For very large and complex statues, why we can not Reuse or exchange Shri Ganpati within various sarvajanilk association in Mumbai.  Why do we have immerse the murti, why we can not donate Shri Ganeshji to various schoopls in Mumbai or entire Bharat?  We can come with many good ideas.  We can solve every problem with  a good scientific approaches.  Jay Bharat.  Jay Hind.  Jay Ganeshji.  Jay Maharashtra.  Jay eco-friendly people.  "In God we trust" so we must pray.


Ravi Sampat 




Waste Wizard turns discarded stuff into Ganpatis

T he Ganpati festival going on at Milan Subway has a unique exhibition
of Ganeshas near a residential building in the locality.

Venkatraman Iyer, who lives at Anu Society, Milan Subway Santacruz (W),
has made nearly 20 kinds of Ganpatis from waste material like oil cans,
Pepsi bottles and even tennis ball boxes for the makeshift exhibition.

Iyer, 66, who is a mechanical engineer and a tennis coach, made these
Ganeshas a week before the festival. "I bought these cans and bottles from
the local scrap dealers," said Iyer, who always carries a scissor and a
black sketch pen in case an impromptu stroke of art is needed somewhere.

Displayed on Iyer's bicycle at the entrance gate of his building are
Ganeshas of all colours and forms. One can see a bright yellow, green or
even saffron Ganesha made of a 5-litre oil can. A cola bottle takes the form
of a cute Ganpati. Another idol made of an old lemonade bottle looks like it
is made of crystal.


The idols also carry social messages related to global warming, harmful
effects of gutkha, smoking. Iyer holds a place in Limca book of Records,
2004, for being a Waste Wizard (who makes useful things out of waste).

Iyer, who likes to call himself an environmentalist, uses his bicycle to
commute within 5 km of his residence to save fuel. And no, he doesn't want
to immerse these cute Ganeshas; he will rather donate them to the
Maharashtra Nature Park Museum at Mahim.

V Iyer has displayed Ganpatis made of plastic cans and other kinds of waste
on his bicycle near the entrance gates of the building he lives in. His cute
Ganpatis are of all shapes and sizes

Publication:Mumbai Mirror; Date:Sep 21, 2007; Section:City; Page Number:8





Green signal for Ganesh devotees
For first time, more than 60 per cent of floral offerings in the city will
be converted into compost
Kiran Wadhwa

Almost every municipal ward in the city has marked a patch of land for
vermiculture pits where the collected nirmalya, the floral contribution made
to the Lord, will be converted to manure.

The transition in outlook is apparent in the figures - while last year,
about 500 tonnes of the nirmalya was made into manure, the municipal body is
expecting about 1,200 tonnes this year. It takes about two months for the
nirmalya to compost, after which the manure will be distributed for
municipal gardens.

The concept of vermi composting began as a small initiative at the Mount
Mary Fair in Bandra three years ago, but today the entire city is busy
nurturing earthworms.

In areas where there is a space crunch, two wards are getting together. For
example, Malad and Dahisar have been sending their nirmalya to the four
vermiculture pits located at Gorai.

"Pandals have become active. We send our tempos every morning to the pandals
in our area to collect the nirmalya. We have already collected about 70
tonnes from our ward," said D.Y Jadhav, assistant head supervisor, D ward.
The offerings have to be segregated because several times even plastic bags
and other non-organic articles find their way into the nirmalya.
Going eco-friendly has also made the pandal organisers happy, as they feel
offerings made to the Lord will go "back to Mother Earth".
"It is like a daily duty for us to collect the nirmalya. The compost created
will help nourish more trees," said Sandeep Khanvillas from DN Nagar Pandal,

POLLUTING THE OCEAN Coconuts, sweets, fruits
and flowers find their way to immersion sites. Citizens are supposed to set
these offerings aside in the nirmalya kalash. But, sadly not many comply.
Garlands made of plastic flowers, beaded necklaces and bangles are the
biggest environment pests at immersion.
Scores of confetti and colour ful thermocol balls float around in the sea on
the day of visarjan. Plastic balls and other decorative articles are also
carried into the sea.

Publication : HT; Section : God of all things; Pg : 2; Date : 26/9/07



City slums go eco-friendly, spread environmental awareness


IF YOU thought that the 'eco-friendly' Ganesh festival is a phenomenon which
has been gaining momentum only in urban areas of the city, then sample this:
Krantinagar - a slum pocket in Kandivli- is a residential cluster of over
1000 shanties which is surprisingly clean. It has wet and dry wastes (called
nirmalya-waste of flowers and leaves) properly segregated waiting for the
BMC truck to stow it away. Ganesh pandals even maintain a low decibel of
ganpati bhajans playing in the background.
There are posters giving out messages saying - 'don't use thermacol for
decoration', 'do not use idols of plaster of paris', 'lets make fertilisers
out of nirmalya' and distributing handbills saying 'A pollution free
environment will show your true belief in Ganpati'.
Like Krantinagar, over 40 slum blocks of Mumbai - as part of BMC's Slum
Adoption Scheme (SAS) - have been promoting cleanliness, and anti-noise
pollution through handbills, posters, boards, skits, and processions. This
move has been encouraged through an eco-friendly Ganesh competition
organised by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with the Centre
for Slum Studies, sponsored by United Ways.
"This year we started promoting these messages right from August 14 and the
response has been amazing. On Independence Day we asked people not to buy
big plastic flags. Similarly we are going to collect plastic at the end of
the festival for recycling. Recycling the nirmalya will be done separately -
by making fertilizer from it through vermiculture," said Arvind Wankhede, a
resident of Krantinagar.
"Everyone appreciates it when the environment is clean and music pleasant
during the festival. We have been able to curb the usage of thermacol
makharsat home by almost 25 per cent," added Wankhede.
A similar response was seen at Premnagar, Goregaon (West) where residents
organised a 'paryavaran rath yatra' - a chariot procession appealing for an
eco-friendly festival. "We organised it three days before the festival, when
people go to get their raw materials for decorations," explains Arti Gavde,
resident of Premnagar and active member of the SAS.
The organisers -BMC and the Centre from Slum Studies - who started promoting
the competition on August 1 are overwhelmed with the response and will be
making note of participants after the festival is over. "We have visited the
sites and will be taking into account different aspects like the what the
idol was made of, decorations used, the use of plastics and nirmalya,
electricity and whether all these were maintained an environment-friendly
way," said Dr Medha Somaiya, coordinator centre for Slum Studies.
"After taking all these parameters into account, we will carry out a tally
for all the participants and the best ones will be awarded prizes in the
hands of senior civic officials tentatively on October 2," added Anand
Jagtap, officer on special duty, BMC.
But BMC's prize was hardly an incentive for the endeavours that took place
to maintain a clean environment. As Gavde rightly puts it. "I don't mind if
our mandals don't win, it is the cleanliness we maintained and contribution
we made that is worth it. We have decided to continue this work through the

Publication : IE; Section : MN Pg : 3; Date : 25/9/07
url :




Pestom Sagar keeps eco-flag flying
The eco-friendly wells of Pestom Sagar, Chembur, saw more than 300
immersions since the start of Ganpati visarjan. And to keep the well tidy,
the residents are desilting it and disposing off toxic remains on daily
basis. They have also dropped some guppy fish in the well to keep mosquitoes
in control. Dr Vijay Sanghole of the Pestom Sagar Residents Trust, observed,
"Good news is that the guppy fish are still alive and doing very well, which
means that we have not received too many plaster of Paris idols." People
from as far as Kandivlii, Vikhroli, Vidya Vihar, Ghatkopar, Govandi and
Matunga have participated in the eco-friendly immersion this year,
organizers said.
The eco-friendly wells of Pestom Sagar, Chem- bur, saw more than 300
immersions since the start of Ganpati visarjan. And to keep the well tidy,
the residents are desilting it and disposing off toxic remains on daily
basis. They have also dropped some guppy fish in the well to keep mosquitoes
in control. Dr Vijay Sanghole of the Pestom Sagar Residents Trust, observed,
"Good news is that the guppy fish are still alive and do- ing very well,
which means that we have not re- ceived too many plaster of Paris idols."
People from as far as Kandivlii, Vikhroli, Vidya Vihar, Ghatkopar, Govandi
and Matunga have partici- pated in the eco-friendly immersion this year, or-
ganizers said.

Publication : IE; Section : MN; Pg : 3; Date : 26/9/07




TOI - Ahmedabad Edition - Dt 28th Sept 2007 Page 5

Surat NGO’s eco message works

Hitarth Pandya | TNN

Surat: The effort of Prayas has paid off. Convinced by their massive campaign against installation of idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP), 51 Ganesh Utsav organisers have pledged to install clay idols from next year.
To get their message across, they got a special script written by noted theatre artist Pankaj Pathakji. The skit, which was staged before an audience of 7,000 schoolchildren from different schools apart from large number of Ganesh pandals, had Lokmanya Tilak and Munnabhai in the main lead.
Said Mehul Thakor, who played Munnabhai: “We faced hurdle as rains lashed the city that day, but we were overwhelmed by the audience response which made us work hard and stage seven performances in the evening. We are actually thankful to Vidhu Vinod Chopra for giving us the endearing character like Munnabhai who made things easy for us. Our message of environmental pollution actually hit the target audience.”
“We knew that it was an uphill task and overnight change in people’s psyche is not possible. Our target is Ganesh Utsav-2008 and we have made a firm beginning by convincing 51 organisers, who have come forward and took oath to install clay idols from next year,” said Darshan Desai of Prayas.
“The figure of 20,000 idols immersed in the river is huge as compared to the number of organisers who have taken oath, but we feel that we have made a beginning. Besides 51 organisers, there are many who have promised to install clay idols,” said Shakti Pathak, another member of the team.
The organisation is now planning to write postcards to all Ganesh organisers. “We are in touch with Surat Ganesh Utsav Samiti who will give us list of organisers to whom we will write postcards requesting them to be a part of our endeavour,” added Desai.
hitarth.pandya@... 75%


Zoher Doctor



(end of 92 responses)