It's time for our Karnataka government to take measures and follow the footsteps of Mumbai Court that recently ruled the city's craftsmen who have been making Ganesha idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) and painted with bright flourescent chemical paints which are environmental hazards.
Various hazardous chemicals, including the highly toxic Mercury and Lead, are found in the paints used for colouring these Ganesh idols, which pollute the water bodies in which they are immersed. Idols made of clay and painted with natural colours easily dissolve in water unlike the PoP which remain forever.
The Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court imposed a complete ban on the use of PoP for making Ganesh idols, where the idol is worshipped more fervently than anywhere else in the country.
When Express elicited views of the environmentalists, they questioned `Why not the Karnataka government impose a ban on use of PoP for making Ganesha idols like the HC ruling of the Maharashtra Government.
'To check environmental pollution, strict action should be initiated by the respective State Pollution Control Boards (PCB) all over the country. Though this is an issue that assumes significance only during the festival time and forgotten soon after the festival is over, the damage it causes is immense and irreversible', lamented environmental activist Aravind.
`This is an evil glaringly visible to the eye. Environment Minister should enforce the rule and protect environment. `Pillari' (cow dung placed as idol and worshipped) should be once again encouraged,’ says Kukkarahalli Lake Protection Committee Convenor Jayaram.
`Why our Government has turned a blind's eye on this is puzzling. Corporation officials should enforce ban on PoP idols. Mysore should become a model to other States by implementing this rule', opined noted consumer activists M Lakshmana.
'Inspite of arrangements being made to immerse idols in water tankers specially arranged and brought to various localities, the toxic content once released to the environment can never be cleansed again,' observed another concerned citizen Sharath.
`Instead of using paint for idols let them use vegetable colours, multan-mitti which are natural and can be recycled, said, Banu Prakash,member of Environment Protection Committee.
Speaking to Express Pollution Control Board Chairman AS Sadashivaiah said that `we have not planned about banning of PoP idols completely. Its a difficult task too. But instruction have been given to all the District Deputy Commissioner's to put extraordinary efforts and make sure of using clay idols. Artisans have suggested to lead-free paint Mysore Lac Paints. We also prevent to maximum extent idols coming our from other state,' he addded.