Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is an auspicious time, celebrated by an enormous number of people across India. Celebrations begin by bringing an idol of Ganesh home, or acquiring a large idol to be placed in the neighbourhood. Over a course of ten days, offerings are made and prayers are given and then the fanfare begins.
Colourful processions then carry the idol in the midst of uninhibited fanfare. There’s music, dance and in some places, members of the procession are in comfortably high spirits. The festivities go on through the night, until the idol is immersed in a water body, usually a lake, or the sea, in coastal regions.
Over the years, the steadily increasing number of idols being immersed began to cause environmental damage in the water bodies. Idols were typically made of Plaster of Paris and coloured with insoluble paints that would wreak havoc on aquatic ecosystems.
Though many alternative methods have been suggested over the years, one initiative in particular, stands out this year, that aims to contain the pollution problem.
Sprouts Environmental Trust and Ogilvy partnered up to literally make the most of hundreds of idols being immersed in our water bodies: Ganesha Idols made of fish food.
The genius lies in the simplicity of the plan. The idols are constructed from wheat flour, spinach, refined flour that our aquatic buddies can feed on. The inedible bits are clay and paints made from organic materials, that diffuse into water without causing any harm.
Like we’ve said before, the smallest action can make the biggest difference. Let’s celebrate in ways that are beneficial to more species than just us human beings.