With idol-immersion polluting Yamuna, people call for alternate plan

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Immersion of idols — some of which contain toxic materials — at the Yamuna Ghat in Delhi’s Kalindi Kunj area has added to the pollution in the river, police say. Puja organisers say they don’t want to pollute the Yamuna but can’t help it as there is no alternate arrangement.

On Sunday, at least 200 Ganesh idols were immersed at the ghat leading to a pile-up of idols, broken earthen pots, rotting flowers, tattered pieces of cloth and sodden coloured paper on the banks of the river which is the lifeline of the national capital.

“Even after the immersion, no one from the (municipal) corporation comes to clean the banks. The locals collect the bamboo from the river bank for their own use. This practice is seen every year. The MCD comes to just put the road in order,” said Bhubaneswar, a local resident.

According to police, at least 200 Ganesh idols were immersed on Sunday. On Friday, more than 500 Vishwakarma idols were immersed.

“This adds to the pollution in the Yamuna but no alternate arrangement has been made by the administration. This will go on till the 11th day of the ongoing Ganesh festival,” said a police official from Jaitpur police station in south Delhi.

A large quantity of insoluble waste like wood, plastic, and toxic material remained floating in the river as the puja organisers left the ghat having performed the last rituals of bidding adieu to their beloved god.

About 100 puja organisers from the Jasola Pocket 12 Ganesh Puja Samity have been coming here for the past four years since they started organising puja in their locality.

“Every year we come here for Visarjan. There is no alternate arrangement. We don’t want to pollute the Yamuna but can’t help it. The government should make separate provisions for Visarjan. Every year the Yamuna gets dirty during Ganesh festival and Durga Puja, the government should do something about it.

“There is so much space near the ghat, the government should make separate arrangement for immersion,” said Somesh Lal, an engineer and a member of the puja committee.

“The sadhus and sants (seers) of our country should come forward and create awareness about it. Only then will this practice change,” he added.

Rajesh, a member of a puja committee from Noida Sector 76, said: “The mud which is used for making Durga idols in Kolkata is always recommended because it gets absorbed in the water. Idols made of Plaster of Paris are not good because they release a lot of chemicals. The government should make alternate arrangements for immersion of idols.”

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