Joint Collector yet to discuss with Collector guidelines for idol immersion

When people celebrate Vinayaka Chaviti, worshipping idols made from non-biodegradable materials, they unwittingly contribute to environmental pollution.

Along with joy and gaiety, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi brings with it the menace of pollution of water bodies.

Focal point

The semi-finished idols of Ganesha that dot almost every centre in the city, are often made from non-biodegradable materials such as plastic, cement and Plaster of Paris (PoP) and coloured with toxic paints that ultimately find their way into the water bodies in the city.

The Krishna river becomes the focal point for immersion of hundreds of these idols, resulting in the toxic chemicals causing pollution, which kills fish and contaminates water. Environmentalists rue that materials like PoP do not dissolve easily and reduce the oxygen level in the water, resulting in the death of fish and other aquatic life.

There is a political dimension to the whole exercise of idol installation, conduct of pujas and final immersion of the statue.

Youth associations vie with peers in touching new heights as far as the idol size is concerned.

The recurring sign of environmental degradation is allowed to magnify with the authorities concerned doing precious little to curb practices that ensue depletion of natural resources.

Following instructions by the State unit of Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB), officials at the Vijayawada branch plan to set up stalls to sell tiny clay idols of Ganesha.

“We do not have any direct control over the situation. We are spreading awareness by distributing pamphlets that urge people to embrace eco-friendly celebrations. This year, we intend to sell 2,000-odd clay idols through our stalls at nominal cost,” said S. Venkateswarlu, Environment Engineer at Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Vijayawada region.

Meanwhile, the concept of eco-friendly clay idols, propagated by the green lobby, does not make much sense to the idol-makers.

Amidst confusion caused by the increasing debate on environmental concerns about the use of PoP, they continue to churn out monolithic idols, painted in bright colours and adorned with accessories.

There is apparently no effort to curtail the use of harmful chemicals used in making and colouring these idols.

On the issue of idol immersion, Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal is yet to discuss the issue with the Collector before releasing the list of ‘dos' and ‘don'ts'.

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