NAGPUR: Despite concerns over pollution of city’s water bodies due to immersion of plaster of Paris (PoP) idols, majority of the citizens showed disregard for the repeated calls given to shun this practice. What’s more, some persons even tried to fish out the PoP idols immersed in Sakkardara lake and Naik Talao in an apparent move to recycle them.
Though the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) found cooperation from many devotees for eco-friendly immersion, they were outnumbered by those who not only immersed PoP idols but also discarded the ‘nirmalya’ (floral offerings) into the water bodies.
NMC health officer Dr Ashok Urkude told TOI that a few devotees alerted cops after spotting a boatman fishing out PoP idols from Sakkardara lake in the wee hours of Sunday. However, before police could arrive, the boatman fled the scene abandoning the boat and the idols. “Similar incident was reported from Naik talao,” said Dr Urkude.
He pointed out that health officers from both Satranjipura and Nehru Nagar zones have already started search for the owner of the boats.
According to deputy director (health) Dr Milind Ganvir, nearly 239 tonnes nirmalya and around 90,000 PoP idols have been recovered from different immersion places across the city at the end of 11-day Ganesh festival. “The civic body has already started preparing bylaws to implement ban on PoP idols from the next year,” he said.
Ninety-four tonnes of nirmalaya was collected from Telangkhedi Lake. The least quantity was collected at Mangalwari and Kalamna lakes where the civic body had kept the artificial tanks. At Sonegaon lake, the NMC collected over 43 tonnes of nirmalya, Gandhisagar – 31 tonnes, Sakkardara – 38 tonnes, Naik Talao – 17 tonnes, and Khadan – 8 tonnes.
Hundreds of NMC sanitary workers apart from a large number of volunteers from NGOs, schools, colleges and other institutions collected the nirmalya.
“We had asked devotees to put the garlands in the dustbin and immerse idols in the artificial tanks,” said deputy director (health) Dr Milind Ganvir, adding, “There were many who did not throw nirmalya but immersed PoP idols into the lakes.”
Meanwhile, miscreants damaged two artificial ‘rubber’ tanks kept at Telangkhedi lake for immersing PoP idols.