Emerald Mithai Shop is an outlet in Hyderabad, which goes eco-friendly in as many ways as possible. They sell their sweets only in recycled newspaper bags, give discounts to people who carry their own cloth bags and also return the paper bags, and serve everything in leaf bowls in their shop. They also have models depicting rain-water harvesting etc.. in their shop.
When we met them some months back, they told us the owner of the shop Mr.VijayRam is an artist too and that every year during Ganesh Chaturthi, he makes and distributes thousands of clay idols free of cost to spread awareness. We visited this shop again to find out about the same for this year and luckily, we also got to meet VijayRam. He is such a humble personality that you have to see him to believe it. We told him we had seen him many times in the shop, but never knew he was such a great personality. He said he was just doing what keeps him happy and trying to repay at-least some part of what he has received from Nature. We also got to know that he has been driving this initiative for many years now. They have an organisation called Society for Awareness and Vision on Environment (SAVE). One of their activities is also to translocate trees and nurture them. Any corner of Hyderabad where a tree is being felled to erect some famous leader’s statue or for other purposes, SAVE gets a call. They are also selling khadi bags, doormats, towels etc.. @ their outlet so that we avoid plastic, at the same time ensuring that the farmers and those who work @ the root-level earn a decent meal. The shop has no fans running on electricity, but exhaust fans designed to run naturally. It has been perfectly designed to have enough lighting and avoid electric lights as much as possible. And even when required, they only have low-current drawing LED lights to do the needful. A volunteer was kind enough to take us around and explain these measures to us.
This year, even the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority [HMDA] has joined hands with VijayRam and is sharing half of the cost of the project, to make 50000 small idols and 500 bigger ones for the pandals.
The other things they have proposed is to collect the flowers/ organic material in a compost pit and use it to fertilize the garden or at-least wrap them in newspapers instead of polythene bags. Another idea is to use cloth, wood, paper, and other natural materials for decorations/accessories that are safer when immersed in water, instead of thermocol/ plastic.
I heard from a few people that they have also started doing only symbolic immersions – They use a stone/ metal idol, symbolically immerse the idol in a bucket of water, or even carry it in procession to the sea, hold it under the water, and then bring it back home.
Also, Youth for Seva- Bengaluru has a site called Parisara Ganapati, which not only has a list of outlets where you can get Clay idols in Bengaluru and Mumbai, but also has a video as to have you can make clay idols @ home.
ETA: I went to a shop selling idols from E-Coexist yesterday [27/8] and they are fabulous. They are available in 5 sizes.
Please visit the following store for buying these idols in Hyderabad:
Daram, Lata 9849023417
Naik’s Estate, ICICI Bank Lane, Beside Aiport Lane, Begumpet, Hyderabad
Tel: 040 27765503
Hope we all join hands together and try to make a difference 🙂