It seems Mumbai still has a long way to go to have only eco-friendly immersions of idols in Ganeshotsav. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) aimed to maximise immersions in man-made ponds to avert the pollution of natural water sources, but around 60 per cent of the idols taken for visarjan were immersed in the latter on Wednesday, the second day of the Ganesh festival.
The BMC had provided only 191 artificial ponds across the city despite aiming for over 300 ponds. Artificial ponds were to be used to help dispose of Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols easily without damaging the environment. The BMC had set a target to shift immersions to artificial ponds from natural spots like lakes and sea beaches. But as per the information revealed by the BMC, only around 40 per cent idols including household and sarvjanik were immersed in artificial ponds on the second day of the festival.
An idol being immersed in an artificial pond at Vile Parle on Wednesday. Pic/Aishwarya Deodhar
Over the past few years, environmentalists have been demanding a ban on immersions in natural sources as PoP and colours from the idols don’t dissolve and pollute them. Every year around 2 lakh idols are immersed in natural spots as well as BMC made artificial ponds.
As per the statistics provided by the BMC, till 6 am on Thursday, 66,785 idols including 350 sarvajanik Ganesh idols were immersed across the city. Out of it, 172 sarvajanik and 27,564 household idols immersion took place at 191 artificial ponds made by the BMC in 24 wards. This means, even this year, the other idols went to 69 natural spots including the sea and natural lakes.
Last year on the second day of immersion, out of 60,490 idols, 22,582 (37 per cent) were immersed in artificial ponds. There is a slight increase in comparison to last year. In 2020 and 2021, more than 50 per cent of the idols were immersed in artificial ponds due to restrictions of the pandemic. In 2019, the percentage of immersions in artificial lakes was only 17.
“In 2008 there were only two artificial lakes and now the number has increased to 191. We tried to provide extra ponds as per the demand from residents and based upon the crowd at ponds last year. The response to artificial ponds has also been increasing over the years,” said a BMC official.