Idol immersion during Ganesh Chathurti, Durga Pooja and remnants of Chhat Pooja cause extensive damage to the river. Idols are mostly made of Plaster of Paris, and use toxic paints and other material which get mixed with river water. Idols made of Plaster of Paris do not dissolve for several months and obstruct the water flow. NGT has issued several directions to the public authorities to follow CPCB guidelines on the use of material for making idols, use of non-toxic paints and to undertake immersion either in tanks built in colonies or by creating artificial ponds.
It is essential to build public awareness about the need to stop using chemicals and toxic paints in the fabrication of idols. But reaching out to individual idol makers and decorators is very difficult. Recently some efforts were made to sensitise pandal organisers but there is little understanding about the rise in heavy metals pre and post idol immersion. It is therefore very important to encourage idol immersion in special pits and ponds.
Efforts have begun in 2018 and will have to be reinforced as there is a need to stop paints, heavy metals and non-degradable plastic, cloth and ornaments from being immersed in the river.
Courtesy: DJB, Arun Thakur