PUNARAVARTAN : A campaign to collect and recycle clay after Ganesh Utsav

PUNARAVARTAN collects 13.5 tons of clay sludge after Ganesh idol immersions

In the fourth year of the campaign, the Punaravartan campaign network of organisations and individuals collected 13.5 tonnes of clay sludge in Pune city alone. This figure is complemented by collections upto approximately 5 tons in several other cities including Pimpri Chinchwad, Thane, Nasik, Ahmedabad and Bangalore.

Clay collected in tons


Pune -13.5

Pimpri Chinchwad -0.9

Thane -3.52

Total – 17.9 tons

Exact figures from Nasik, Bangalore and Ahmedabad collections are still awaited.

The Punaravartan campaign envisions a zero-waste Ganesh Utsav by encouraging devotees to return the clay sludge after the immersion of clay idols. The clay collected is returned to artisans for reuse and to make Ganesh idols afresh the following year.

This year, the campaign which was led by the eCoexist Foundation and executed on the ground by the Poornam Ecovision Foundation and the Swach Cooperative, also managed to engage the Pune Municipal Corporations Solid Waste Management teams. This year following a training that was held for the Sanitation teams by Punaravartan, an effort was made to collect the clay sludge across 45 locations in the city. Between 3.5 to 4 tons of clay came from public immersion tanks and 9 tons from individual homes.

The response from individuals and families was also very encouraging as many citizens called in to sign up to donate their clay. Societies, schools and local citizens groups such as the Bavdhan Citizens Forum took the responsibility of collecting clay from their own networks. The PMCs education department hosted a training for all the PMC schools about Punaravartan and over 80 private schools were informed about Punaravartan with the support of the Pune Climate Warriors. Youth across Maharashtra were taught about the potential of clay recycling through MYCA – Maharashtra Youth for Climate Action a CEE / UNESCO programme. Colleges of architecture also registered their students to learn about the possibility of using recycled clay in buildings. Student volunteers stood at over 60 collection centres on two days during the festival to receive the clay brought in by citizens.

The relatively cleaner clay that came from individual homes will now be sent free of cost to artisans in the city for reuse. The clay sludge from public immersion tanks which is a mixed material, will be offered for experiments in mud building.

The project’s success has been due to the collaborative efforts of around 25 NGO partners in Pune city that gather each year to spread the word. Pune City leads the country in this unique effort to recycle clay which is a precious and non-renewable resource.

To read more visit: www.punaravartan.org

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