Immersion day is an emotional day when we say our goodbyes to one of the most popular Go-to Gods – Ganesha! Varieties of Ganeshas – big and small, colourful and innovative, were brought to the beaches – Palavakkam and Pattinapakkam on the immersion days.
The Corporation, Police and the Urbaser Sumeet teamed for a seamless immersion process as they requested segregation of flowers, clothes and support planks from the main deity. “Items like flowers, clothes, planks and such need to be handled separately and by segregating them at the time of immersion, we can tackle the waste better. This will not only cause less pollution, but make beach cleaning more efficient,” said Hari Balaji, IEC, Urbaser Sumeet.
At the beach, everyone said their Goodbye! But…
The next day, many of the idols came back to the beach, some of them intact! It felt like the Ocean God did not accept Ganesha made of anything apart from clay and had returned such idols to us! But who cares? The persons who immersed them are no longer around to witness that the Ganesha they beheld for 10 days, revered, served and asked for his blessings, was lying abandoned!
At Pattinapakkam itself, GCC had employed over 140 staff to sort out the Vinayagar statues, about 50 of which, have not been fully immersed due to low tide or were washed ashore. These were immersed again on Sept.25.
Our tradition has always insisted on respecting Nature, so why deviate from this tradition and opt for fancy items to please the Gods? On second thought, who are we actually pleasing by such acts? Why not use clay? The Central Pollution Control Board has also issued a directive on using only clay and not Plaster of Paris (PoP). Studies have shown that idols of PoP have contributed to a drop in dissolved oxygen in water bodies, and also remain intact in water bodies for several months. In contrast, idols made of clay dissolve in about an hour. Paints used on the idols also contribute to pollution as they contain heavy metals.
It is time we go back to our roots, at least when we are celebrating festivals, respect nature and in turn respect God! Go Green! Go Clay!