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Going towards a zero waste Ganesh Chaturthi with the Punaravartan campaign !

Last year 2022, Pune collected 23000 kg of clay after the immersion of clay Ganesh idols, at 50 locations across the city, and returned it to artisans for reuse, through the Punaravartan campaign.  

The Punaravartan campaign was initiated by eCoexist Foundation in 2020, when they first started to experiment with the potential of recycling shaadu clay which is a non renewable resource and creates clay deposits when immersed in natural water bodies.  In 2022, over 20 city based organisations, reached out to 150 societies and involved over 200 volunteers on the ground, to scale up the campaign significantly in a collaborative way. 

Poornam Ecovision, SWaCH, Social Seva Initiatives, Jeevit Nadi, Oikos, CEE, Global Shapers, Paryavaran Gatividhi, Cummins Foundation, Fergusson College, and Radio Big FM were some of the organisations that joined hands. The effort was also launched at a smaller scale in PCMC, Thane and Nasik.

The clay sludge which was collected was returned to several Ganesh sculptors in Pune and Pen as well as some educational institutions to experiment with. The clay that was collected was then delivered to a network of artisans in Pune, Loni and Pen. These artisans were offered the clay free of charge as an incentive for them to stop using Plaster of Paris and respect the ban on POP idols. Idols made by this renewed clay will be put back in the market this year.

This effort to collect and recycle natural clay, shaadu mitti, has been the first of its kind at this scale in the entire country and earlier this year it was presented to the Chief Minister at a meeting with sculptors he had called in Mumbai. 

The campaign received an overwhelming response from the public and they most appreciated the combined respect for tradition as well as the concern for the environment. “This effort has a two fold impact on the environment – firstly it reduced the amount of clay being immersed into the rivers and lakes, and secondly it also promotes the reuse of clay soil which is mined and is therefore non renewable”, said Vrunda Shete, the project lead at eCoexist.

The ultimate vision of the campaign is to set up a closed loop of the supply chain where the clay is directly returned to the same artisans from whom the idols are bought, so that it can be used again in the following year. This year the campaign is being launched in Gujarat as well, in cities like Ahmedabad and Surat along with local partners. 


For further inquiries please contact.


Manisha Sheth Gutman 

Director, eCoexist Foundation 



Vrunda Shete 

Director, eCoexist Foundation

Project Lead, Punarvartan