In the year 2015, more than 3000 metric tonnes of remains polluted the beaches across Mumbai city. But thanks to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the awareness amongst Mumbaikars, last year, around 2.15 lakh idols were immersed into the water bodies, out of which 40,572 Ganpati idols were immersed in 32 artificial ponds. Approximately 1,775 tonnes of floral waste and other material were collected post-Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations across Mumbai and deposited at temporary collection centers.
But is this still enough to curb the ever-increasing immersions over the years?
This young man has found a way out. The artisan we have been talking about is Dattadri Kothur. He with his vision has come up with Ganesha idols using eco-friendly clay to promote a unique concept of ‘Tree Ganesha‘. The most striking feature of the idol is the fact that it has a seed inside and can be grown into a plant by pouring water after the festival ends.
Kothur’s aim is to reduce the harmful effects of ‘plaster of Paris‘ idols that create the largest amount of pollution. In May 2015, he took a basic course in gardening before starting his initiative and came up with an idol made of clay, fertilizers, and seeds. It takes a whole week to prepare this idol which is once again placed in a flower tub full of soil and seeds. Instead of immersing into water bodies, one has to water the idol with three mugs of aqua every day till it melts into the tub and grows into lush green plants.
“The seeds and organic fertilizers are brought from Byculla nursery and the red soil is brought from Kumbharwada area in Dharavi. I use organic fertilizers which do not allow the seeds to dry up,” he says.
An art director by profession and an artist and sculptor by passion, Dattadri Kothur has come a long way in discovering his love for making Ganesha idols. He learned this divine art by helping the artists at a studio in his backyard and then there was no looking back. He believes that Ganesh festival is the celebration of nature and strongly supports the cause of environment-friendly celebrations. He has been successfully using the festival as a platform to raise awareness about the problem of pollution.
His endeavors have won him accolades every year and his initiative has been lauded with support and promoted by various politicians and celebrities across Mumbai.
His idols range from 12 to 20 inches in size and are currently available in Mumbai and Pune. If you want to join the Brigade, then pre-order your own tree-Ganesha for a more environment-friendly celebration.