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India rarely surprises me any more.

On the one hand, the country could not care less about intolerably polluting its holiest river. And on the other, there are folks making eco-friendly Ganesha idols because they do not want to pollute the earth owing to any non-degradable materials in the idols.

“We have been making eco-friendly Ganesh idols for past 80 years now. My father was a sculptor and we have taken up this art after him” said Arvind Keskar, owner Shri Kala Kendra in Rajwada. Keskar makes Ganesh idols out of yellow soil, jute and modelling clay. Keskar can be seen working in his workshop with his family. The concept of eco-friendly idols may be a modern-day concept, but according to Keskar “Even in our shatras, it is mentioned that a the Ganesh idol should dissolve completely in water after the visarjan (immersion). This is the reason we make idols of soil and not using materials like plaster of Paris (PoP).”

While giving due credit to folks like Arvind Keskar, I am wondering whether the average India consumer cares. But there are others who do not appear to agree with me. Here is a study from National Geographic that appears to rank India very high on consumer environmental behaviour.

So, here’s the dope – India might be a ecological disaster, but its people are extremely environment conscious.

Difficult to reconcile. This is our India.

And while you are trying to digest it all, check out the world’s most eco-friendly nations