Nagpur: With 10-day Lord Ganesh festival round the corner, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) authorities have been found wanting as far as preparations for eco-friendly immersion of deity is concerned. The roof-top claims of “gearing up” for the massive exercise notwithstanding, a look at the lakes and other water bodies where immersion of thousands and thousands of Ganesh idols would be done points of the apathetic attitude on the part of NMC.
Take the example of Futala Lake, a place where maximum idols, small and big, of the deity are immersed. The lake is littered with all kinds of garbage. Weeds are being seen showing their ugly face. Contamination of the lake is in massive scale. But for the specific days of immersion, the lake is victim of negligence, apathy of the civic body. The condition of Nagpur’s most popular Futala Lake is in the doldrums due to the excessive garbage (flowers, plastics, etc) having been put into it all year round in general and during the immersion of the Ganesh idols in particular.
The “disgusting state of affairs” leaves a bad impression in the eyes of visitors to the Futala Lake which also called “Nagpur’s Chowpaty” fondly by the Nagpurians. The face of this “Chowpaty” continues to look dirty year after year exposing the hollow claims of authorities concerned. Save for the time during immersion days – Ganesh immersion or Durga immersion or Chhat Puja – the lake is stinking round the year.
Despite the talk and efforts of eco-friendly immersion of idols, the reality tells a different tale. Contamination caused by the immersion of idols is in monumental dimensions. The materials used for making idols are non-biodegradable substances like plastic, plaster of paris, thermocol, synthetic colors etc. that leave a devastating effect on flora and fauna in the water bodies. The immersion of idols increases the pollution level significantly in lakes. Due to the immersion of large number of Ganesh and Durga idols colored with synthetic paints and the decorative materials used results in significant rise in the pollution of lake water. The idols are painted with oil paints of various colours which contain heavy metals which are non-biodegradable. When the levels pollution exceed the tolerable limits it results in killing of fishes as well as other aquatic species like snails, frogs etc. which is a common scene for some post-immersion days.
The concept of immersing Ganesh idols in artificial ponds, which was unfamiliar to Nagpurians all these years, is now slowly but steadily picking up. A large number of volunteers from NGOs like Green Vigil, Rotary Club and others, collect the nirmalya at various spots and appeal to devotees to immerse idols in artificial tanks. The concept was floated following a strong demand from green activists who warned of serious damage being done to city’s water bodies due to immersion of idols.
According to reports, the NMC authorities held a series of meetings for ensuring eco-friendly immersion of idols. The number of artificial ponds for immersion of idols and pots to collect nirmalya would be increased this year. Other initiatives aimed at reducing pollution of water bodies are also being discussed in the meetings.
Only the time, which is approaching fast, will reveal the futility of these high-level meetings, directives, claims, efforts. But all these valued words should not be limited to the immersion period. The lakes are not meant only a few events on specific days. The water bodies should look vibrant, beautiful round the year. It is a small expectation from a big city called Nagpur, a Smart City on the cards.
In addition to worsening the state of affairs, there are several disturbing elements who are often seen drinking at the spot making it even more vulnerable. As a result of the same, the people hesitate from visiting the place being terrified of the outcome.