PoP idol immersion kicks up row

Environmentalists call for a scientific mechanism to resolve pollution and contamination issues

Hyderabad: The ten-day Ganesha festival starting on August 31 has once again brought to the fore the issue of water pollution due to the immersion of large quantities of painted Plaster of Paris.

As the civic authorities and Ganesh Utsav committees continue to be engaged in a battle of wits, environmentalists regretted the lack of consensus on the issue and the absence of a determined effort to protect lakes.

Environmentalist B.V. Subba Rao said, “the cycle of background activities after the immersion should be studied instead of merely focussing on immersion, which is a single day affair. The authorities must evolve a mechanism on how best the issue can be handled, wherein the idol makers collect the PoP material post-immersion to recycle and make new idols.”

Rao added “all immersion ponds are permanent ponds. This is a gross violation of the court orders and there is no sanctity for the immersion. Moreover, there is no sense of social commitment among the people and civic body officials.”

Environmentalists said that making of clay idols in Bengal was different as clay is naturally available along the state’s coast line, which was not the case in Telangana. Here it requires a lot of material mobilization for making mud idols.

Another environmentalist, D. Narsimha Reddy, expressed reservations about immersion of idols in natural waterbodies. He said “Hussainsagar is heavily contaminated as human waste in solid form is directly released into it. The lake’s STP does not have the capacity to liquefy the human waste before it is released. How can immersion take place in dirty water is a question we all need to ask.”

As per the civic authorities, 75 baby ponds have been readied for immersion as of now, but no information has been given out as to how the segregation of PoP and clay idols would happen or if at all the segregation exercise is sincerely gone about.

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