The civic body’s eco-friendly initiative of setting up artificial lakes for Ganpati immersion was called a farce by its own corporators in the standing committee meeting on Wednesday. They claimed the idols were taken out of the lakes and were later immersed in the sea.
MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande raised the issue, stating the civic body’s ways were not eco-friendly. “What is the point of creating artificial ponds when the idols are put in the sea the next day? As there is no check on what happens after the immersion, the civic body is conveniently ignoring the norms to pollute the sea,” said Deshpande.
Corporator Sheetal Mhatre (Congress) demanded a ban on Plaster of Paris idols. “We know its impact on environment yet no initiative is taken to discourage it. The administration must ban such idols and instead opt for clay or other eco-friendly material. A recent trend is making chocolate Ganpati, which is the most eco-friendly way of celebrating the festival,” said Mhatre.
This year more than 22,000 ganesh idols were immersed in the 27 artificial lakes created by the BMC across the city. Deputy municipal commissioner Anand Wagaralkar, who handles the Ganpati preparations in the city, refused to comment on the allegations. He, however, said the civic body is looking at ways of recycling the material for better use.
Experts said the best way is to recycle the material. Rakesh Kumar, chief scientist at National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) said, “Plaster of Paris can be used for filling or cement mixing.”