Bangalore, August 7, 2013: As the days draw closer to the annual Ganesha festival, chairperson of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Vaman Acharya, has echoed the need for ‘eco-friendly’ Ganesha idols this year.
Speaking at a workshop on Wednesday, Acharya called upon citizens to use unpainted clay-made Ganesha, which should be of smaller in size somewhere between 8 inches to 12 inches. He also asked people to avoid purchasing idols made out of plaster of Paris, which is non-biodegradable. The idea is to free water bodies from pollution mainly from the lead-mixed paints, he explained.
“We have been insisting on environment friendly Ganesha idols right from the beginning,” he said. “Earlier, we were dealing with plaster of Paris and the lead-mixed paints, but now we are confronting the spectre of Ganeshas made of thermocol.”
Addressing the gathering, Prof Shashidhar expressed his concern over the increased use of lead-mixed paints to colour Ganesha idols. “When five micrograms of lead can make a child dumb, imagine the condition of aquatic creatures if every year about 20,000 to 30,000 large and small size Ganesha idols painted with lead-mixed chemical colours are immersed in water bodies such as Sankey Tank,” he said.
He said that by taking these dangers into account, the United States of America banned lead-mixed paints back in 1968 and appealed to government agencies in the State to pass regulations preventing sale of such Ganesha idols. He also asked them to regulate the prices of Ganesha idols so that eco-friendly idols can be sold at cheaper rates.
Acharya also introduced the audience to Raghu Kumar, who has been using natural colours to paint Ganesha idols. Raghu said he has so far identified 82 natural colours as an alternative to toxic paints.