The efforts of Andheri residents have ensured that Lokhandwala lake remains pollution-free and is not used for immersions during Ganesh festival.
Dumped flowers and leftover puja materials had been adding to the already filth-filled Lokhandwala lake because of the debris dumped along it.
The residents built an artificial 20x15 feet pond at Lokhandwala Back Road, next to Andheri’s Joggers Park, has already seen over 1,200 immersions of idols this year during Ganeshotsav.
Though the artificial pond was dug in 2011, it was used for the first time last year with around 2,100 idols being immersed there.
In June, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) de-silted and fenced the lake, said residents. It also increased the size of the artificial pond so that devotees do not use the lake for immersion.
Parag Masukar, assistant commissioner, K (West) ward, said: “A huge parking space has also been provided in the area to help ease traffic during immersions. The pond is 8-foot deep and idols not more than seven feet can be immersed.”
In the 1990s, a concrete wall divided a creek from the sea, creating the Lokhandwala Lake, estimated to be around five acres.
In 2010, Lokhandwala residents, Ashish Mehta, Dr Jain Chandrakant and Sumesh Lekhi, started a non-profit, Friends of the Environment, that has been promoting eco-friendly immersions.
“We expect over 3,000 idols to be immersed in the pond this year,” said Mehta.
Residents are happy with the arrangement during the festival.
Sanjay Srivastava, resident of Lokhandwala, said, “Immersions were completed smoothly and are faster than in beaches.”
The Lokhandwala Lake has become a major bird-watching area as it attracts a lot of migratory birds.
“We wanted Mumbaiites living in and around the lake to have an environment-friendly conscience and protect aquatic life, flora and mangroves,” said Dr Jain.