Come Ganesh Chaturthi and every year, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has a Herculean task ahead. While the Palike has constantly failed to control the garbage mess, it is that time of the year, when its woes will see a multifold growth.
With increase in wet garbage, plastic covers, rotten flowers, wooden planks apart from the idols itself, by the end of this festive month, BBMP will be one tired entity. City Express takes a look on how well is our civic authority geared up to celebrate the festival.
A total of 32 lakes will be open to the general public for submersion, which will also include Ulsoor Lake, Sankey Tank, Yediyur Lake and Sanegurvanahalli Tank.
Each lake will also have separate containers available where flowers and other pooja material can be disposed of. In fact, about 88 mobile tanks will be facilitated to the citizens of Bangalore for conducting the submersion of idols upto two and half feet.
A study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board in Bangalore on the impact of immersion of Ganesh idols on the lakes revealed that:
The acid content in the water increases.
The TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) increased by a 100 per cent.
The dissolved Oxygen content increases during the day due to agitation in waters during immersion and will be reduced at night when organic discharge is increased.
Stressing on the point to keep our lakes pollution free, the commissioner of BBMP, Rajneesh Goel said, “Eco- friendly idols are definitely the best solution. One can celebrate the festival while keeping the lakes free from any chemicals. I am deciding to conduct a special meeting to ban these chemical usages soon.” The Government of Goa on the other hand is encouraging idols made of papier mache that can be devoured by fish once they are immersed and can help in reducing the massive water pollution. Similarly, in Pune the civic agency has convinced people to throw accessories like flowers, fruits, coconuts, cloth, incense, camphor into large bins.
The BBMP has marked `2 crore for the cleaning of the lakes in the city after the festival. They have even urged the people to complete the immersion by September 30. However, the commissioner Rajneesh Goel said, “If people come for submersion after September 30, we will not prevent them. But we would like them to finish the whole process by the decided time frame.”
Eco-friendly solutions: Environmentalist and film maker Suresh Heblikar, who has even made a film on the ill-effects of Ganesh idol immersion in lakes told us on some of the possible solutions to solve the issue.
He says, “ For many years, we have been advocating idols without paints which have not turned into reality. About 90 percent of the idols end up dissolving in the lakes, which are not biodegradable and only 10 per cent remain at home or are submerged in mobile tanks.” He further added, “Today Ganesh festival is no more celebrated in individual scale but have become a community based festival. Everybody wants to create 4 to 5 feet huge idols. There are a few solutions that we have arrived after discussion. The government should pass a strict order and stop the manufacturers from making huge idols. Secondly, huge awareness campaign should be created at all levels, in schools and colleges. Thirdly, the manufacturers should be monitored. Last and not the least, the manufacturers should use substitutes like vegetable dyes and herbal colours. In fact, this can be a big business, leading to a huge employment generation.
Immersion Hot Spots: Sankey Tank is one of the most popular hot spot for submersion. The joint Commissioner of West Zone, Dr Chandrashekar said, “In my zone, six mobile tanks are available for people to utilise for submersion. As far as Sankey Tank is concerned, we have deputed 20-25 civic workers for cleaning the lake on an hourly basis.”
Similarly, Ulsoor Lake is also an important hub during Ganesh Chaturthi. The joint Commissioner of East Zone, K C Shivashankar informed City Express, “100 civic workers will work round the clock to ensure cleaning of Ulsoor lake and its surroundings. We also have about 20 mobile tanks available for people of this particular zone.”