To protect Mumbai’s seas, beaches and lakes from the damage caused by Ganpati idol immersions, the Aarey Milk Colony and residents of Lokhandwala will create artificial ponds to immerse idols.
Aarey, which already has one such pond, will get two 20x40-foot water bodies with a depth of seven feet. “We have decided to allow immersions of idols that measure 7 feet or less at the artificial ponds. While two artificial ponds are already in place, the third one will be set up within a week,” said Gajanan Raut, chief executive officer, Aarey.
Only shadu or clay idols will be allowed to be immersed at the natural lake near Chhota Kashmir garden. “We have reached out to Ganesh mandals to bring only shadu clay idols of any size for natural immersions. Our aim is to protect water bodies from pollution and reduce the number of idols immersed in beaches,” Raut said, adding that the silt collected after immersions from the lake would be used as manure for the new butterfly garden near unit 16.
Last week, an artificial pond at Lokhandwala Back Road, next to Joggers Park in Andheri, was made bigger by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) with the help of residents.
Built in 2012 by the BMC, the pond could only immerse 400 idols. “In 2013, 2014 and 2015, the number of idols increased to 800, 1,200 and 2,200 respectively,” said Dhaval Shah, founder, Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizens’ Association. “After consulting residents, the size of the pond was increased so that there will be fewer immersions on beaches such as Juhu and Versova.”
BMC officials said that since the pond was extended by almost 50%, more parking spaces will be created around it.
“The idea is to reduce traffic problems on immersion days. Citizens are requested to use artificial ponds near their homes and refrain from using city beaches,” said Parag Masurkar, ward officer.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
- During Ganeshotsav immersions, apart from Plaster-of-Paris (PoP) idols, which takes a long time to disintegrate, the nirmalya (flowers, fruits, coconuts, cloth, incense and camphor) used for religious ceremonies, pollute waterbodies
- Also, decorations made of thermocol or plastic foam are also dumped into waterbodies, which can harm the marine ecosystem
SEA OF GARBAGE
- During the Ganesh festival in 2015, as many as 217,761 idols that were immersed at Mumbai’s beaches generated 3,059 metric tonnes of waste, roughly the amount being sent to the Deonar dumping ground every day.
- The number of idols has been increasing over the years and so has the garbage. In 2014, 2,034 metric tonnes of garbage was generated because of 1,96,174 idols. Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu, Versova, Aksa and Dadar are popular immersion spots.