Ganesh Chaturthi Festival Makes Changes to Save Chowpatty Beach
Mumbai, India – known for its rich culture, is home to nearly 20.5 million and the world’s most polluted beach. Despite the thick layer of plastic pollution that makes it nearly impossible to see the sand at times, come September locals still wade into the water during the festival 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’s home. After the festival, it was returned back 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 was replaced by Plaster of Paris. However, plaster is non-biodegradable, and insoluble in water.
The amount of pollution caused by the festival has influenced the government to take action, eco-friendly idols are now being produced to accommodate the festival’s traditions.
If given the opportunity we encourage you to travel to Mumbai, experience the culture and view the pollution for yourself. It will only solidify that the need for change is evident, traditions and habits don’t have to be forsaken, just modified. Something as simple as switching from plastic to reusable bottles can save the earth from the severe consequences below: