PUNE: Although the government and environmental activists push for an environment-friendly Ganeshotsav in the city, on the Ganesh decoration front, people are far from celebrating an eco-friendly festival. In fact, the bamboo sellers in Burud Ali near Mandai are facing crisis since past few years as people are moving away from the traditionally used bamboo decoration and towards thermocol and plastic decoration.
Bharti Salvi, one of the sellers in Burud Ali said, “For the past three-four years, thermocol has completely taken over the market for Ganesh decoration. Unlike earlier, people now wish to buy the easily available ready-made decorative items and have turned their backs towards us. We hardly have any buyers left, some who have been traditionally using bamboo makhars (decoration), and some others inclined towards celebrating an eco-friendly Ganeshotsav."
Shopkeepers in one of the popular markets for decoration, Bohri Ali in Ravivar Peth, echoed a similar view saying, “Thermocol is much easier to play with and can be used more creatively. Also, nobody has the time to make makhar with bamboo these days.”
Among the handful of people surfing through the items in Burud Ali was Varun Kotapati from Hadapsar who has been using bamboo decoration in his house for the past 10 years. “Earlier, even we used plastic and thermocol decoration in our house. However, now as an attempt to celebrate an environment-friendly festival, I decided to go back to bamboo decoration,” he added.
Speaking about the issue, Nandini Jadhav of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) said, “Bamboo decoration is anytime better as it is eco-friendly. It can also be reused creatively year after year. Thermocol is used extensively by people as they think it’s better to use. This thermocol, later, doesn’t even get disposed properly and creates a lot of non-biodegradable litter.”
“While creating awareness for eco-friendly Ganeshotsav, the government should also make people aware of the use of eco-friendly decoratives along with idol and immersion technique,” Jadhav added. Environmental activist Kiran Purandare said, “In our festivals, the use of any resources is not sustainable. As the scope of Ganeshotsav increased year after year, more resources have been used recklessly without thinking about the environment. Whether it’s decoration, or anything else, hardly anything gets recycled in our Ganesh festival.”