Ganesh Mandals may soon be charged a levy to ensure that waste and leftovers post immersion get disposed off in an environment-friendly manner within 24 hours.
This was one of the suggestions made by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in its guidelines issued this week to celebrate Green Ganpati.
The MPCB issued a list of formal dos and don'ts after the Central Pollution Control Board sent out an advisory to all state pollution authorities on it. So far, the BMC has made no decision on this suggestion.
There will also be a move to have more artificial immersion centres to avoid polluting main water bodies in the city. These immersion points will have synthetic liners at the bottom, so that they can be removed post immersion to make it easier to bring out the remains of the idols. The MPCB has also mandated separate collection and disposal of worship material like flowers, decoration paper and clothes. "Biodegradable material like flowers can be composted or recycled. The rest can be disposed off in sanitary landfills," an environment official said.
The police and civic body have also been asked to ensure a complete ban on burning of solid waste at immersion sites. For immersion in the sea, local bodies have been asked to demarcate 500 metres beyond the low tide line well in advance. Home guards are also likely to be deployed to supervise immersions here.
The CPCB has asked Ganesh mandals to opt for traditional clay idols and natural soluble colours. There is a strict ban on toxic and non-bio-degradable chemical dyes.
"The state environment department had also met leading paint companies including Asian Paints, Pidilite and Nerolac to manufacture environment-friendly paints. All the companies have offered emulsion paints for the purpose. These will sport a label saying 'heavy metal free'," environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh said.