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Hyderabad, Sept. 5

THE Green Corps has appealed to the people to go for eco-friendly Ganesh idols for this Vinayaka Chatruthi.

"Don't use Plaster of Paris (PoP) to make the idols or offer plastic flowers to the God," the Directorate of Andhra Pradesh National Green Corps appealed to the people.

Worried over excessive usage of PoP, chemicals and metals in making the idols, the Directorate said about eight lakhs of idols would be immersed in the Hussainsagar every year during the nine-day festival.

Environmentalists have been expressing concern over the immersion of metals and toxic materials in the lake, polluting it year after year.

Unlike the traditional mud-made idols, PoP idols do not dissolve in water. "We also add toxic colours containing heavy metals like chromium, arsenic, lead, nickel, cadmium and mercury," the Directorate said in a release.

Besides, other accessories made of plastics would also go into the water, causing serious harm to the flora and fauna in the water body.

To create awareness, the Green Corps conducted workshops in a number of schools to tell students on how to make idols with mud.

"We have arranged for river clay for distribution at 16 locations across the city. Students will be taught to make the mud idols. They can be coloured with natural dyes with turmeric, limestone and saffron," the release said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 6, 2005)
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