Come August, and the neighbourhood is abuzz with preparations to welcome the festive season with Varamahalakshmi Pooja and Ganesh Chaturthi coming up soon. However, every year, the post festival statistics indicate a rise in the acidity level in water bodies due to disposal of toxic waste, and large scale water clogging and pollution due to immersion of PoP idols with chemical paints containing mercury and lead, offerings of flowers, coconuts, fruits, thermocol and plastic decorations, etc.
A study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board, Bangalore, to assess the impact of immersing Ganesh idols on lakes led to shocking results, indicating
â€¢ Metal content in lakes increasing nearly by 10 times
â€¢ The Total Dissolved Solid (TDS) content increasing by 100%
Particles of toxic waste dissolve and accumulate at the bottom of the water body, whereas toxic paints form a thin insoluble layer that floats on the surface of water. While the process of decomposition is responsible for the depletion of the dissolved oxygen content of the water body, the layer of toxic paint further aggravates the situation by completely cutting off the natural oxygen supply from the atmosphere. This makes it impossible for aquatic life forms to survive, resulting in thousands and thousands of dead fish floating on the surface of water.
This leads to water pollution, while the foul smell from them leads to air pollution. Toxic metal contents that enter these aquatic life forms also gradually enter the food chain; threatening the sustainability of many species, which can lead to severe ecological disasters.
Being aware of the consequent long term threats posed on the environment, let us pledge to take responsibility in contributing to make this festive season cleaner and greener!
Inviting suggestions to be shared for the same!
Some possible solutions:
â€¢ Using a natural clay idol painted with organic/vegetable dyes, instead of idols made of PoP with chemical paint.
â€¢ Avoiding non-biodegradable materials like thermocol and plastic for accessorizing the idol.
â€¢ Composting biodegradable materials like flowers.
â€¢ Giving away fruits, food items and offerings to the needy.
â€¢ Immersing the idol in a bucket or a tank, instead of natural water bodies.
â€¢ Using an idol made of metal or stone, that can be symbolically immersed in a bucket of water and used for the festival in the upcoming year.