The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has constructed three separate temporary ponds in and around the city to facilitate the immersion of Ganesh idols and prevent pollution of rivers and water bodies.
The ponds have been constructed at Kuakhai bridge near Pandra, Tankapani Road and Lingipur, adjacent to Daya bridge.
The BMC health officials said as artificial colours that are used to paint the idols contain carcinogenic compounds such as lead, cadmium, chromium and nickel, immersion of these idols pollute the water of rivers and lead to serious health hazards.
Environmentalists welcomed this initiative of the civic body. Senior environmental scientist of Odisha State Pollution Control Board Dillip Behera said the move will help in keeping the river water free of pollutants.
Environmentalist Bijay Mishra said, “During idol immersion, bio-degradable substances like straw, paper and flowers decompose in the water and the process depletes the dissolved oxygen in the water. This depletion of oxygen content in the river water causes harm to aquatic animals and plants. So use of artificial ponds will definitely help in addressing the problem and ensuring better upkeep of water quality in the rivers.’’
BMC officials said the immersion ponds have been constructed as per specifications and guidelines laid down by the State Government. These ponds have a membrane insulated layer to prevent mixing up of the toxic water immediately with the nearby water bodies.
“All idols will be immersed in these three ponds. Once ideal immersion is over, the water will be treated and the clean water will be pumped out to nearby rivers,” a BMC official said.
BMC officials said earlier such temporary ponds were being constructed and used only during Durga puja. However, from this year, these ponds will also be used for immersion of idols during Ganesh Puja, Biswakarma Puja, Gajalaxmi Puja, Kali Puja as well as Saraswati Puja.