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Do not immerse idols, exchange them, recommends KSPCB

Bangalore, Poornima Nataraj, Sept 8, 2013, DHNS: 20:41 IST

Painted Ganesha idols contaminating water bodies

idol admirers: People have a look at eco-friendly Ganesha idols in the City on Sunday. The idols have been created by artist Vidyasagar, using tree bark. dh photo
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has come out with this unique suggestion his Ganesha Chaturthi: “Don’t immerse idols. Exchange them.”

According to Vaman Acharya, the Chairperson of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), the practice is already gaining acceptance in Pune and Mumbai, where the concept of community celebration of Ganesha Chaturthi originated.

“We have put across a thought about exchange of idols especially those kept at community level. The idols are made mainly from Plaster of Paris and are coated with rich lead paint,” he said.

“Instead of immersing these idols, a smaller, eco-friendly idol made from clay can be used as the presiding deity (utsava murthi) and that can be used for the immersion ritual. People of one locality can exchange their idols with people from another locality, repaint them and use the same idol next year. This will enable communities to reuse existing idols without polluting water bodies.”

He added that there was a dire need of coordination between KSPCB, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the police to reach out to the people in creating awareness on environmental pollution. He said that the possibility of imposing the ‘exchange condition’ could be explored while granting permission to instal community idols.

Limited acceptance

Only 30 per cent of Bangaloreans have adopted eco-friendly clay idols, while others still discard painted idols into lakes.

In some places, people are using drinking water to immerse these idols, even as the City stares at a water crisis, he said.

In Mumbai, the Arabian Sea is used for idol immersion, whereas landlocked Bangalore uses its lakes for the purpose.

“This practice must be discarded or modified well enough to suit Bangalore’s environmental needs,” Acharya said. “There have been several reports of groundwater contamination, where the impurities have trickled down into the aquifer and borewells.”

Acharya called upon citizens to take the suggestion as a wake-up call to protect lakes in the City.

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