Mumbai’s Ganapati mandals go green with decorations, themes

Updates from :  the hindu

Groups are putting care and thought into making sustainable choices

The city’s biggest Ganapati mandals are striving hard to remain eco-friendly — from doing away with plastic, thermocol and chemical-based colours in their decorations to going easy on the use of crackers while installing the idol — mandals are attempting to protect the environment in different ways.

“We have desisted from using non-biodegradable products as much as possible. We are only using cotton, yarn and other textile-based goods for our decoration,” said Nayan Dumre, secretary of the Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Mandal, well-known Fortcha Raja.

Annual themes

Speaking of the distinct annual themes promoted during the 10-day festival, Mr. Dumre said, “For the past six years or so, we have been choosing a variety of social themes for our festival. This time, we are showcasing the plight of Indian farmers, who are troubled with droughts and floods across the country, leading them to commit suicides,” he said. “During the 125th anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak, we decorated the pandal with his sculpture. This year, due to the floods, we did not burst crackers or exuberantly celebrate Ganapati Bappa’s aagaman(welcome ceremony),” he said.

Mr. Chitnis, however, said it was a more time-consuming effort. “It is much easier to make carves and niches in thermocol as opposed to wood, which is heavier and costlier, and so, we had to start our work two months earlier than usual. Moreover, unlike ready-made painted thermocol fripperies that only needs to be pegged around, wood takes a lot of our sweat,” he said.

Giving back

The mandals are also contributing their bit as social work. For example, a mandal in Andheri that organised a drive to pledge organs last year, will distribute saplings to devotees, along with sweets and other offerings. The Fortcha Raja mandal in collaboration with Wockhardt and JJ hospitals will organise free health check-up camps for devotees.

The Khetwadicha Raja mandal plans to organise a blood donation camp, depending upon the influx of devotees. The mandal has abstained from using plastic, thermocol and other non-biodegradable products for decorating its pandal.

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