Durga Immersion may increase Water Pollution

Durga immersion or visarjan, the final event during Durga Puja may hit the deck of the pollution very hardly. Durga Puja 2009 is not a good year when we concern about the water pollution of major rivers in Orissa. No Durga mandap followed the rules and norms in immersion and thrown every pollutant related to Durga Puja into the rivers along with Durga idols in Mahanadi, Kathajodi, Kuakhai and Daya rivers of Orissa on the last day of Durga Puja 2009.  
Minati Singha writes for Times of India:

  • The guidelines to prevent pollution went for a toss with over 300 idols of Durga immersed in the major rivers in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. According to the Orissa State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) norms, traditional clay should be used for making idols rather than baked clay. It also prohibits the use of toxic and non-degradable chemical dyes and instead prescribes natural colours used in food products.
  • The guidelines also dictated that flowers, cloths and decorations should be removed and collected for separate disposal before immersion. Also, the leftover material at the immersion sites should be collected by local civic bodies within 24 hours after the ceremony. “Synthetic colours cause harm to the existing water sources. Apart from polluting the river, it introduces a slow but steady change in the composition of the water,” said an OSPCB analyst.
  • Sadly, however, these rules were blatantly flouted on the last day of the five-day long revelry and festivity on Tuesday night with about idols along with decorations were dumped in Mahanadi, Kathajodi, Kuakhai and Daya rivers. On immersion day, over 100 puja organizing committees in Bhubaneswar took out huge processions and assembled at Saheed Nagar and Nayapalli for the immersion ceremony. But the river ghats bore the burnt with the deluge of garbage, puja material and idols.
  • The OSPCB member secretary said, “We monitor water quality tests in major rivers like Kathajodi, Kuakhai and Daya rivers before and after immersions. For a fair assessment of water quality, we conduct all kinds of tests such as pH level, bio-chemical oxygen demand, conductivity, turbidity, total dissolved solids and other heavy metals.”
  • Das, however, added that that immersion of idols did not have any significant polluting effect on the rivers. “From the water samples collected during the last three years, we didn’t find any significant pollution due to immersion unlike in other states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal,” he said. He further said that the pollution level was minimal because the water in these rivers were flowing and the idols were immersed over a large area instead of a particular spot. However residents alleged that the administration doesn’t take any steps to clear the place and the ghats present a sorry sight the next morning. Apart from parts of idols and other materials lying around, these areas are the daily destination of several people for ablutions.

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