Bengal tries out greener measures for idol immersion post Durga puja
Authorities in West Bengal are trying out greener methods for idol immersion this Durga Puja, the biggest festival in the state, to keep the water bodies and the Hooghly river cleaner and less polluted.
In south-Dum Dum, in the northern fringes of Kolkata, authorities have earmarked and barricaded portions of two large water bodies to try out an immersion model. Synthetic liners have been spread out below and on the sides of the earmarked portion, which authorities said will help to check the pollution from spreading to the rest of the water body.
“We are also planning to come up with mobile treatment plants so that the polluted water in the earmarked zone of the pond could be treated. The sludge deposited in the synthetic liner would be scraped out. This would help the water body to stay cleaner and less polluted,” said Kalyan Rudra, chairman of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board.
Around 1000 idols, both big and small, are expected to be immersed in the two ponds. The immersion process started on Monday and around 200 have already been immersed. The immersions will end on Thursday.
“Our machineries are parked on the banks of the water body and as soon as any idol is immersed the structure is being fished out. We have tied up with the West Bengal Pollution Control Board for this initiative,” said a senior official of South Dum Dum municipality.
While authorities in Delhi, had started immersion of idols in artificial ponds created solely for the purpose since 2019 to keep post-immersion pollution in the Yamuna river low, Mumbai has been doing it for the past few years for now to keep the sea clean. In Kolkata a few hundred idols are immersed in the Hooghly river after Durga Puja.
In yet another initiative, a puja committee in south Kolkata used water jets to melt down the idols. A small water body using bags and synthetic liner was created for the purpose.
“It served two objectives. First, we wanted to avoid going to the river bank because of the pandemic. Loading the idols on a truck and unloading it, would require more than a dozen men without maintaining any physical distance. Secondly, it also helped to keep the pollution down in the river as the idol was not immersed in the river,” said a member of the Tridhara Sammilani in south Kolkata.