Bombay Bans Polluting Plaster of Paris Statues For Hindu Festivals
Statues such as this one of Ganesha are immersed in the ocean or a nearby river during Ganesh Chaturthi. Traditionally made of naturally biodegradable materials, for some time now more toxic materials have been the norm. Photo: Chris/Creative Commons.
TreeHugger has written on a number of occassions about the water pollution resulting from immersing plaster of paris statues into rivers and the ocean that occurs during the popular Hindu festivals of Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja--as well as efforts to encourage more traditional and environmentally friendly alternatives. Now the Bombay high court has imposed a permanent ban on plaster of paris statues created for immersion in water. The public interest petition advocating the ban said,
The use of plaster of paris and chemical-laced colors were polluting wells, rivers and even sea water. Calcium sulphate hemihydrate, mixed in a nominal quantity with water to be used in the statues, is dangerous to the environment as the chemical does not easily decompose in the water. (Hindu Press International)
Now all statues must be made using soil, clay, paper, natural colors and other environment-friendly material--in other words what these statues, intended to be short-lived, were traditionally made of.