Clutter in the lakes

Clutter in the lakes

Idol immersion during Durga Puja is not as big an affair as it is during the Ganesha Habba. But although the number of idols made and sold are less in number, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had taken the same measures it did during the habba, to avoid polluting the City’s water bodies with synthetic painted idols, flowers, banners and garlands.

The immersion of the Durga idols took place on the last day of the puja which was on October 24. But the debris in many of the lakes in the City has still not been cleared — especially in Ulsoor lake, where immersed idols have been piled one on top of the other and stacked away in a corner.

The BBMP had identified and demarcated 32 lakes for immersion purpose. Some of these lakes are Allasandra in Yelahanka and Sankey Tank, as well as lakes in Lalbagh, Varthur, Ulsoor, Yediyur and Hebbal, to mention a few. When asked about the uncleared idols, special commissioner of the BBMP, K Niranjan, says that they’re concentrating more on managing the garbage situation than the idol immersions. “The rush for immersion was not as much as it was during the Ganesha Habba. It was not all that significant for us to make arrangements,” he says. Niranjan observes that the maximum number of immersions took place at Ulsoor, Yediyur, Sankey Tank, Yelahanka and Bommanahalli.
“There are a few men from the BBMP deputed at these lakes to make sure that the garbage is cleared on time. If there is uncleared garbage, we will look into the matter,” he adds.

According to officials in the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), idol immersion during festivals like Ganesha Habba and Durga Puja leaves the lakes polluted.

The officials conducted checks post the immersion in 12 lakes in the City and found that the content of iron has almost doubled in all of them. “There’s a lot of iron content in the clay which is used to make the idols. We had also asked people to refrain from using Plaster of Paris because it does not dissolve fast. But it looks like none of these guidelines have been followed. The chemical dyes being used to colour the idols contain poisonous elements. Particularly red, blue, orange and green dyes contain mercury, zinc oxide, chromium and lead,” an official points out.

“The immersion of idols poisons the waters of lakes and rivers by increasing acidity and heavy-metal content. This leads to the degeneration of the natural setting and indirectly affects the health of people,” adds the official.

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