Tue, Dec 6, 2016 | updated 02:15 AM IST

Artists turn focus on eco-friendly idols ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi

Updated: Sep 01, 2016 08:18 IST

Mumbai/Coimbatore [India], Sept.1 (ANI): In a bid to sustain ecological health, artists in some parts of the country have prepared eco-friendly religious idols this year ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesh.

A group of differently-abled women and children in western Mumbai under the aegis of Om Creations Trust is one such collective.

Carrying forward the fast-diminishing practice of making idols out of clay, about 60 members of the organisation are presently working on producing 75 Ganesh idols for the festival on September 5.

The trust provides skills training to differently-abled people, who keep producing occasion-specific material, including baked eatables.

"We have to give proper training to these children. Only after that, they are able to prepare Lord Ganesha idols, which have been made out of clay and painted with water colors to make them eco-friendly," said Denis Cardoz, manager of Om Creations Trust.

In his monthly radio address in August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to use idols made of clay in the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja festivals.

"As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on 'Mann Ki Baat', we should prepare eco-friendly idols so that there we don't harm nature. That's why we have prepared these as when we will immerse these idols in the sea, these will easily dissolve," said Neha Pradhan, one of the artists.

Clay, traditionally used for making idols, has gradually been replaced by items like Plaster of Paris, which make for stronger and easily-maintainable idols, but also harm the environment.

Saravana in Coimbatore city is another artist who has continued the old practice.

"When idols of Plaster of Paris started being prepared, lots of people were against it. Now there is a call for eco-friendly idols, thus we have decided to make paper-mache idols, which easily dissolve in water. We have made around 1,000 idols and people are buying them," he said.

According to tradition, thousands of idols are immersed in water across India every year after religious rituals. Idols made of POP take months to dissolve, thus causing severe harm to the environment.

Acrylic colours used to paint idols have also become a cause of concern as they contain harmful chemicals like lead, cadmium and chromium, which are carcinogenic. (ANI)