In a huge relief to artisans across the country, the decision to ban the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP) to make Ganpati and Durga idols has been delayed by a year. The move is expected to provide relief to those who have already invested in purchasing material for the upcoming festivals and also to those whose livelihoods have been impacted due to the Coronavirus crisis and consequent lockdown.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar while announcing the decision stated, "The decision will help artisans, who have already invested in purchasing materials and have prepared or are busy preparing for the upcoming Ganpati and Durga Puja festivals."
Earlier this month, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had issued revised guidelines in which it announced a ban on plastic, thermocol and PoP for making idols. The report observed, "Traditionally, clay is used to make Ganesh idols. Over the years, however, PoP which is lighter and cheaper has become the favoured material to mould idols.. PoP contains chemicals such as gypsum, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium."
The decision made by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will help stop added economic crisis faced by artisans. The festivals are celebrated at a grand level across the country. Devotees across the country bring home idols and worship for a specific number of days before immersing the idols in rivers or lakes. The PoP used in making idols pollutes the water after immersion of idols.
(with inputs from ANI)