Environment
Activists allege that the government is doing nothing to prevent the immersion of Plaster of Paris idols.
Image: PTI (Visarjan in Mumbai)

As the Ganapati festival comes to an end and visarjan kicked off in several parts of the country, data shows that over 2 lakh idols were immersed in the city’s lakes in just one day. And despite Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s ban on the immersion of Ganapati idols made of Plaster of Paris, more than 12000 of them were immersed in Bengaluru’s lakes on Saturday

According to data released by the BBMP, a total of 2,08,585 idols were immersed. Of the 48,000 idols immersed at Yediyur Lake, 8,000 were made out of PoP. Ulsoor Lake, which falls under the BBMP East Zone, had 2,600 PoP idols immersed in it out of the total 21,200.

“It is too early to say if the number of PoP idols immersed is less as it was only on day one. A clear picture will emerge once all the immersions are over,” a senior BBMP official said.

Bengaluru Mayor, G Padmavati, said that the BBMP was trying to create awareness about using eco-friendly Ganapati idols and that it could not take decisions that would hurt religious sentiments.

According to Ramprasad of the activist group Friends of Lakes, the KSPCB is doing nothing to stop the violators who are immersing PoP idols.

“If this is the level of apathy on day one of the immersions, imagine the coming week, when many more PoP Ganapati idols will be immersed in the lakes. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and BBMP could have stopped this but they are mum on the issue. At a time when our lakes are dying, the authorities are turning a blind eye. They could have banned the PoP idols from entering the lakes,” Ramprasad said.

According to Dr TV Ramachandra of the Indian Institute of Science, the BBMP should have banned both the manufacture and sale of the PoP idols.

“What is our mayor doing? She says that the BBMP cannot stop people from immersing PoP idols because it would hurt religious sentiments. Is the fact that the chemicals from PoP will enter our food chain not bother the BBMP?” Professor Ramachandra questioned.

However, Ramprasad said that the fact that 90% of the idols were made of clay this year, was sign that Bengaluru residents were becoming more aware of environmental-friendly solutions.

“We have reached the 90% mark this year. With time and patience, maybe one day we will have 100% eco-friendly idols,” Ramprasad added.