Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated fervently every year in various parts of the country, especially Maharashtra. The festival marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha and lasts for 10 days.
Grand processions leading to large water bodies are how Ganesha idols are bid farewell. The cause for worry for several years has been the amount of pollution both, land and water that’s caused during and on the day, the festival ends.
Huge amounts of waste is generated from the 10-day long festival. From flowers, fruits, incense sticks stuffed in polyethylene bags, idols made of Plaster of Paris that are toxic for under-water ecology, all go straight into local water bodies.
Since Plaster of Paris is not made of naturally occurring substances and is actually calcium sulfate hemi hydrate or (CaSO4, ½ H2O). It can take somewhere from several months to years for an idol made of PoP to completely dissolve in water.
To add to the problem, the idols are often decorated with paints heavy on lead and mercury which once immersed adds to the ongoing process of destroying the flora and fauna of the water body.
There are several eco-friendly ways that can be adopted to prevent reckless polluting of water bodies.