Promising to enforce the Goa government’s crackdown on plaster of paris (PoP) Ganesh idols ahead of the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi, state Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral on Wednesday said sellers as well as buyers of the non eco-friendly idols would now have to pay hefty fines or even face imprisonment.
“We will be very strict. This order will be implemented through Goa (State) Pollution Control Board, Police department, administration, Collector and Deputy Collector. We will be enforcing law thoroughly because PoP does not disintegrate… it becomes a major environmental nuisance,” Cabral told media at the Secretariat.
“This time strict implementation will be done and PoP idols will be banned for sale or even people who buy such idols will have a tough time, including paying fines or imprisonment if required,” said the Minister.
The cost effectiveness of PoP idols and better finishing over traditional clay idols ensure that they continue to have a market in Goa (despite a ban) ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi.
However its hazardous gypsum, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium content as well as lead paints disintegrate slowly and poison the water in lakes, ponds, rivers as well as choke beds of water bodies where the idols are immersed.
Ganesh Chaturthi is an important Hindu religious festival in Goa and will be held on September 10 this year.