PUNARAVARTAN : Clay sludge recycling campaign

The Problem

Natural clay – known as Shaadu Maati – is a non renewable resource that is mined from different parts of India and sent to cities to be converted into religious idols. After the ban on the use of PoP, the traditional use of natural clay is expected to increase. This will create another ecological disaster and therefore needs to be addressed. Also, when clay idols are immersed into natural water bodies they form an impermeable layer on the river bed. 

Currently the clay sludge collected after immersion is either thrown into open mines around the city or some of it gets poured back into the river. 

Source: Gujarat Mineral Development Corp Ltd.

The Solution

Natural clay can be easily reused and recycled by artisans to remake fresh Ganesh idols. To enable this the clay sludge has to be collected in a clean manner stored carefully and returned to the sculptors. 


The CPCB guidelines for Eco friendly Ganesh Celebrations , 2020, reccommend the recycling of clay sludge. 


Renewal and Recycling of clay : The Campaign

This campaign is to launch a city wide campaign to collect and redistribute the shaadu maati clay sludge after the visarjan of the Ganesh idols. Our main task is to ensure that the clay is kept clean and stored carefully so that it can reused by the artisan. We will also need to identify artisans that can take the clay and reintegrate it into their production for the following year. 

In 2022 we will be implementing this in Pune and Nasik. 

The Immersion of clay

HOME IMMERSION : A simple intervention of adding a piece of cloth at the bottom of the water bucket in which visarjan is done ensures that it can be collected, dried and wrapped into a cloth bundle for hand over. 



SOCIETY LEVEL: Societies may have two levels of collection – individual and collective – for the sarvajnik idols care has to be taken not to mix up different materials.



RIVER SIDE: At the banks of the river, clay idols need to be set aside after a dip in the water and stored as is, without conversion into clay sludge. The idols can be returned to the artisans and can be converted into sludge by them. 

Seggregation and collection

The clay sludge can be collected:


1. At each society – individuals can drop off at one point in the society

2. At specific drop off points across the city 

3. On specified days during the Ganesh festival



Care is needed to ensure


1. The sludge is clean and does not contain other organic waste such as flowers

2. Different clays are not mixed together

3. PoP , Paper and Cow dung idols do not get mixed with the clay sludge


Transportation and Redistribution

There are two key elements in this campaign – those will give the clay sludge and those who will accept it for reuse. The transportation has to collect and deliver from one point to the other. Tempos will be needed to make this happen on the three days of collection. 


Donating the clay sludge

Would you like to contribute your clay idol or sludge to be reused by artisans ?

Please fill in the form below to sign up: 


List of participating societies:










Recieving the clay sludge

Artisans in Pune, Pen and Mumbai are being contacted to inform them of the availability of this clay and to get their commitment to reuse it.


The Ganesh Murtikar Sanghatanas in various cities have also been contacted to recieve the clay and redistribute it to their members.


The clay sludge will be given back to the artisans FREE of charge. 


List of participating artisans / Organisations:



1. Bal Kalyan Sanstha, Aundh

2. Omkar Salunkhe

3. Sudden Shinde

4. Chetan Badhai

5. Prakash Mohan

6. Akshay

7. Swapnil

8. Prashant Desai, Ganesh Murtikar Sanghatana 




1. Subhash Kumbhar

2. Mayureshwar 

3. Raj Patil

4. Harshad








Educational Poster : Marathi

Educational Poster : English




HELP LINE PUNE: +919049146644

HELP LINE NASIK: +919922825999


We need volunteers for :


1. Identifying individuals and societies who would like to donate

2. Identifying artisans who can receive the clay sludge

3. Stand on the drop off points to receive idols and sludge

4. Stand on river side immersion points to receive idols