NEW DELHI: To bring down pollution in the Yamuna post idol immersion, a committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Delhi government to rope in film and TV actors to spread the message that idol immersion is leading to “unacceptably high level of toxicity”.
The actors can convey the message that only clay idols without paint should be used for immersion, it said.
Immersions after the end of Ganesh Chaturti and Durga Puja have led to a manifold increase in the heavy metal concentration in the river. The NGT had in 2015, passed various directions, including a ban on immersion of idols except those made from bio-degradable material, to prevent pollution of the Yamuna.
“An awareness programme that use appropriate TV and radio channels should be started in a planned way, bringing out why idol immersion is leading to unacceptably high levels of toxicity in the river. Well known personalities, film stars, TV actors as well as leading NGOs can be interviewed,” the committee said.
Set up in July 2018, the committee comprises former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra and retired expert member B S Sajwan.
In its report to the NGT, the panel suggested authorities to explore the possibility of creating artificial ponds and pits for idol immersion and the height of idols should be restricted to a maximum of three feet.
The cue was taken from Surat in Gujarat, which recently set an example by not allowing any idol immersion in the Tapti. Surat is reported to have set up 4,000 CCTV cameras, and deployed 8,000 police personnel, 3,250 home guards, and six companies of the State Reserve police as well as one company each from BSF and RAF to deter idol immersion. In fact, the officials were advised to get a first-hand idea of how things were managed there.
“The Divisional Commissioner may consider visiting Surat along with relevant police special unit to get a first-hand idea on how things were managed there,” the NGT-sppointed panel added.
The Surat police commissioner was contacted and asked for an official report on the strategy of zero tolerance for idol immersion in Tapti.
The report said as per the response, 60,000 idols were immersed in local pits and no idol was immersed in the river or any water body with “full public co-operation and support.”