The remains of the day

The remains  of the day

While idol immersion is an intrinsic part of Ganesha Habba and a traditional affair, the City’s lakes and its surroundings continue to be choked with synthetic painted idols, flowers, banners and garlands after the immersion year after year.


People point out that the government bodies are not doing enough to spread awareness among the public on using environment-friendly Ganesha idols. They rue that the rules and regulations regarding the immersion process remain quite unclear. 
 
This year, the officials have identified and demarcated 100 lakes for immersion. 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. Separate Kalyanis (immersion tanks) have been developed across the City for immersion purposes in Jakkur, Venkateshapuram Lake, Kothnur Lake, Mallathahalli Lake and Kommaghatta Lake near Kengeri.

Though some people have started using environment-friendly idols, most people are not completely aware of the harmful effects of coloured idols. Vishal, a young professional feels people don’t really care about keeping the environment clean. “Eco-friendly Ganeshas are expensive, that’s precisely why most people continue to buy coloured idols. People blindly follow rituals rather than pay attention to its harmful effects on the environment,” explains Vishal.
  
Sriraksha, a student of BMS College of Engineering, adds, “Ganesha idols made from synthetic materials and plaster of Paris sell more than eco-friendly ones. People must be forced to follow the rules and the violators must be severely punished.”

Lakshmi, a professional, says her family have always been making Ganesha idols with the mud from their garden. “We make the Ganesha idol at home and colour it with white rangoli powder. The idol is then immersed in a bucket at home and that water is used to water the plants. We may compromise on buying an attractive-looking idol but we are doing our bit not to harm the environment,” says Lakshmi.

Commissioner of the BBMP, M Lakshminarayana, explains that, for the first time, a fine will be imposed on all those who litter the streets with garlands, flowers and debris during the procession. “We will impose a fine of Rs 500 on those who pollute the environment with garbage during the procession. Our teams will be deputed in several zones to identify the offenders,” he explains.

A senior official with KSPCB observes that idol immersion during festivals like ‘Ganesha Habba’ always leaves the lakes polluted.

“Every year after immersion, we test the water in the lakes and find that the lead content is increasing. We have asked people to refrain from using plaster of Paris but they don’t seem to bother about the environment and continue to use chemicals that are harmful,” he adds.

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