www.flickr.com user Aditya Kolli.
The 2012 Ganesh Chaturthi festival gets underway in a few days, and it seems that the message to "go green" is really making an impact this year. Toxic plaster of Paris idols are being replaced by ones made out of readily biodegradable clay all over the country.
Awareness of the importance of having a Green Ganesha is being spread through 13 Indian cities, including Hyderabad and Bangalore, by Big FM, which has garnered the support of a number of celebrities including Aamir Khan.
Goa is one state to have actively banned all plaster of Paris idols this year. According to this news report, over 400 of these idols were seized there on Thursday night. The Gujarat government had also issued a similar ban in May, however it's been revoked following concerns over the impact it would have on the livelihoods of idol makers. Nevertheless, Surat is one city in Gujarat where all idols will be eco-friendly.
In Mumbai, where the Ganesh Festival is hugely celebrated, many households and housing societies are choosing clay idols. Yet, most of the big mandals will still have plaster of paris idols. One mandal that's going against this trend is Kranti Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal at Thakur Charan Dham, Sai Mandir Marg in Andheri East, which will have a 21 foot clay idol this year. Another mandal that's known for its clay idols is the Girgaoncha Raja. The Bal Gopal Mitra Mandal is also renowned for having an eco-friendly focus, with an idol made out of tissue paper.
This interesting news article shows how clay idols are sculptured.
More About the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival: