October 4, 2016: Durga Puja is celebrated all across the country in its own unique ways. As the Puja comes to an end after five long days, people bid goodbye to the Goddess Durga by immersing the idols to the nearby rivers.
After the ritual, families return back to their homes happily. Sadly, what happens to the water in the river which is home to many living creatures is of no concern them whatsoever. The immersion of idols increases the content of oil, metal, and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the river. The introduction of these new hazardous materials in the making of the idols has made the traditional way of making idols with hay and clay disappear.
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According to a report by CPCB, more than 15000 idols are immersed in the River Hooghly alone. Click To Tweet After the immersion, TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) is increased by 100%.
From the last decade, we have been observing a growing awareness among people regarding the river pollution. Our government has been issuing the advisory and implementing methods so that festivals like Durga Puja and Ganesh Chaturthi can be celebrated in an Eco-friendly way. Though these advisory mostly goes unheeded, a few years back, Gujarat government banned the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP) and other perilous materials in idols.
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The Karnataka government introduced mobile immersion units. The Indore municipal corporation has been setting up artificial ponds for the immersion. In Pune, the municipal corporation set up large bins shaped as Kalash for the disposal of nirmalaya(the flower, cloth, camphor, fruits, etc.)
Guidelines have been proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board for controlling the river pollution. Some of these are as follows:
- Artificial ponds must be constructed. Appropriate locations for immersions should be identified.
- Removable synthetic liners should be placed at the bottom of the pond before the immersion.
- Prior to immersion, nirmalaya must be removed.
- Regular checks must be carried out on makers of idols to ensure that they are following the specifications.
- A fee will be charged for immersion in the public place.
- Painted idols should use water soluble and organic dyes.
- Water quality assessment should be carried out during three stages- before immersion, during immersion and after immersion.
- The burning of solid waste near immersion sites should be prohibited.
- Use of Eco-friendly idols should be encouraged.
- All idols, not following the specifications must be seized.
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All these measures can work only if the devotees understand, immersing an Eco-friendly Goddess Durga’s idol in an artificial pond would make them no less devoted than the people immersing a 10 feet idol, made of Plaster of Paris, in the river. Therefore, Prayers without pollution likely to sound better. Isn’t it?
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