By Kuhoo Gupta
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most celebrated festivals in India, especially in Maharashtra which honours the birth of our most favourite and beloved elephant-headed deity Lord Ganesha. The celebration takes place in full swing; the streets are filled with boisterous devotees accompanied with a whole lot of music and gigantic idols of Ganesha are paraded throughout the cities and immersed in water bodies after the festival ends.
However, it’s important to instil the idea of going green in our child and talk to them about combining the passion for planting trees and making eco-friendly idols at home. We must encourage our kids towards an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi to promote the idea of ecological balance and to reduce pollution. Our children have the ability to make a big difference in society by their eco-friendly behaviour towards the Mother Nature, which can pass on from generation to generation.
Talk about an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi
People should strongly opt for Ganesha idols and decorations which are eco-friendly. Normally, idols are made up of plaster of Paris that cause immense harm to our environment. Almost 2,033 metric tonnes of waste is left behind after the Ganpati immersion. Though we welcome Bappa with open hearts, his “visarjan” or immersion is followed by a trail of scattered waste which hardly becomes compost and mostly finds its way to the dump yards or water bodies. It is very important to bridge celebrations with ecological understanding to make sure that in our pomp, Mother Earth does not suffer. After all, isn’t she a goddess herself?
Thus, these guidelines will not only introduce your child to ecological concepts at home, but also the experience the wholesome joy of making Bappa with your own hands.
How to create an eco-friendly idol at home
We can also make an eco-friendly Ganesha using kitchen ingredients available at home. This is totally chemical free and compostable.
You need the following:
· 5 spoons turmeric
· 2 spoons all-purpose flour
· ½ spoon sugar
· Milk to knead
1. Ask your child to help you knead the dough to a consistency similar to play dough. Together, you can shape the idol.
2. Ask your child to take half the dough and make a sphere using it. That will be the stomach.
3. Now take some more dough and elongate it to make the legs. Whenever you see cracks while making the idol, ask your child to seal it with milk touches.
4. Make another small sphere and that will be the head of Ganesha. Keep applying milk on the joints and cracks to properly mould the Ganesha.
5. Now make hands of Ganesha according to the design you prefer. Keep smoothening the joints by applying milk.
6. You can ask your child to make two ears and a trunk for Ganesha.
7. Make two or three circles to make the “mukut” or crown for Ganesha.
8. To make the eyes, you can use black pepper or cloves.
9. Use match-sticks for the tusks.
10. Let it dry for a day or two and you are ready with your eco-friendly Ganesha.
How to immerse the idol in garden section of the home
After the Ganapati festival is done, you can immerse the homemade idol in a bucket full of water. After some time, the idol will get dissolved and this water can be used to water the plants because there are all natural ingredients in there.
Eco-friendly idols that transform into a plant
Create your own green kit at home, which consists of a terracotta or plastic pot, a nutrient block that expands into the growing soil when immersed in water and organic seeds (tomato/ okra / tulsi) that are easily available at nurseries.
All you have to do is welcome one Ganapati Idol which is made up of natural clay and natural colours, buy a nutrient block, potting mix, seeds and organic fertiliser.
Immersion procedure for your eco-friendly idol
· Ask your child to fill the pot with water after blocking the drainage holes.
· Together, you can immerse the idol inside the pot filled with water on your terrace or home garden.
· Once the idol starts to dissolve, you can ask your child to drop the nutrient block inside. It will expand in water.
· Once this expansion happens and the idol is completely dissolved, add more soil if needed.
· You can sow the seed and put some soil on top of it. Ask your child to water it lightly.
· The process of germination begins.
· The sapling starts to grow.
(The writer is Founder of The K Junction.)