INDIA, February 9, 2011: Statues of Deities created for immersion will no more be made out of plaster of Paris, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court has ruled. In a landmark verdict on Tuesday, the bench imposed a permanent ban on use of the material in statues, spreading cheer among environmentalists. The bench said henceforth all statues must be made using soil, paper, natural colors and other environment-friendly material.
The judgment came on a public interest petition (PIL) filed by Narendra Dabholkar, president of the Maharashtra Andhshraddha Nirmulan Samiti, in 2005. It came up for hearing after six years. The environment ministry of the Union government, the central pollution board and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board had already submitted their guidelines on pollution before the court.
In his PIL, Dabholkar had submitted that the use of plaster of Paris and chemical-laced colors were polluting wells, rivers and even sea water. Calcium sulphate hemihydrate, mixed in a nominal quantity with water to be used in the statues, is dangerous to the environment as the chemical does not easily decompose in water.