Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi
The most serious impact of the festival on the environment is due to the immersion of idols made of Plaster of Paris into lakes, rivers and the sea. Traditionally, the idol was sculpted out of mud taken from nearby one home. After the festival, it was returned to the Earth by immersing it in a nearby water body. This cycle was meant to represent the cycle of creation and dissolution in Nature.However, as the production of Ganesh idols on a commercial basis grew, the earthen or natural clay (shaadu maati in Marathi and banka matti in Telugu) was replaced by Plaster of Paris. Plaster is a manmade material, easier to mould, lighter and less expensive than clay. However, plaster is nonbiodegradable, and insoluble in water. Moreover, the chemical paints used to adorn these plaster idols themselves contain heavy metals like mercury and cadmium, causing water pollution. Also, on immersion, nonbiodegradable accessories that originally adorned the idol accumulate in the layers of sand on the beach.