Avoid idols made of plaster of Paris (PoP) on Ganesh Chaturthi, install a clay idol for Ganesh Chaturthi.
Every year after the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, devotees pollute water sources by dumping millions of clay and plaster of Paris idols just as they overwhelm the remover of obstacles with their prayers.
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Though ecologists strongly argue in favour of clay idols, the demand for PoP Ganeshas has pushed its production and sale.
Historically devotees used Ganesh idols made of clay, and immerse them in their own ponds or tanks, to symbolize the cycle of creation and dissolution in nature.
However after the advent of Plaster of Paris (POP), this became a preferred choice for sculptors, since POP idols are cheaper, less fragile and easier to transport.
However, since POP is not a naturally occurring material, it leads to widespread water pollution when immersed. Apart from taking longer to dissolve in water, the POP increases the acid content of the water.
Moreover, if the idols are decorated with chemical paints, the heavy metals contained in the paint seep into the water. As against this, the natural clay idols dissolve immediately with little or no pollution. The main problem with shaadu (clay) idols has been the limited supply, Natural colours have been used like turmeric for the ornaments and clothes, multani mitti for the skin colour and geroo for Ganesha’s seat.
This is why you should purchase a clay Ganesha and not Plaster of Paris.