An environmental group has cited Thane Municipal Company’s apply of discharging water from synthetic idol immersion websites and remnants of hundreds of Plaster of Paris (PoP) Ganesh idols pushed into Thane creek consequently yearly to focus on the harm it’s inflicting to marine life and water high quality.
Muse Basis, the group, first got here to know in regards to the apply in 2019 when it acquired a response below the Proper to Info (RTI) Act from the company that that they had been gathering Ganesh idols at 19 synthetic ponds and dumping them at Thane Creek. The company cleaned the immersion websites utilizing chemical compounds earlier than releasing the handled water into the Thane creek.
The group studied the scenario throughout Ganeshotsav pageant this yr and located there was no change within the apply and filed complaints, together with the Maharashtra Air pollution Management Board (MPCB) on Thursday, saying it was being executed a gross violation of preventive water air pollution management measures.
“PoP idols and related lead-based paint are poisonous for marine life and water high quality. Remnants of those idols are disastrous for the marine biodiversity of this creek, which passes by way of a protected flamingo sanctuary and eventually meets the Arabian Sea, polluting a whole ecosystem,” stated Muse Basis founder Nishant Bangera.
Muse Basis on Thursday recognized one of many areas the place a heap of damaged idols and ornamental materials was discovered dumped.
The company stated 45,000 idols have been immersed in 2016, 42,000 to 34,000 from 2017 to 2019, and 21,000 idols this yr.
The company additionally, below RTI Act, stated it spent Rs 11 lakh to assemble one of many ponds. “If on a median, the price of the synthetic immersion web site is about 10 lakh every, with 19 such websites, the overall quantity runs into crores of rupees. Thus, the present apply renders synthetic immersions as a futile train utilizing public cash for the reason that disposal is lastly taking place within the Thane Creek itself,” stated Muse Basis member Sushank Tomar.
The group has requested the Maharashtra authorities to intervene and direct an finish to the apply. “Revolutionary strategies on the metropolis stage can be utilized to eradicate PoP from coming into the creek…,” stated Bangera.
Manisha Pradhan, who heads the company’s air pollution management division, stated there was a rise in suspended solids coming from ornamental supplies with idols. “For this, our therapy apply is efficient as KMNo4 [used for the cleaning] acts as an oxidising agent… alum is used to cut back the suspended particles and improve dissolved oxygen within the water. As soon as discharged into the Thane creek, it doesn’t have an effect on the water high quality in any method because the water simply dissolves and doesn’t have an effect on the biodiversity.” Pradhan added this was being executed as per MPCB tips.
PoP accommodates chemical compounds like sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium and idols product of it are the most affordable and price between Rs 500-Rs 1,000.
“The toxicity from heavy metals in color used to color idols is an issue. Lead-based paints used on these idols are toxic for phytoplankton’s [underwater plants] and the poison is additional transferred to fish and better animals,” stated E Vivekanandan, a marine biologist.
Pradhan stated they have been encouraging residents to make use of clay idols and added within the case of PoP ones, they request them to make use of ammonium bicarbonate. “[People in] areas like [Covid-19] containment zones or situated away from immersion spots have been requested to observe this course of whereby idols can be dissolved on web site. 100kg ammonium bicarbonate was bought from us by residents this yr. Nevertheless, this isn’t possible on a large-scale stage which requires interventions from the state or Centre to ban using PoP utterly,” stated Pradhan.
The Central Air pollution Management Board in Could banned using PoP, thermocol, and single-use plastic for making idols and using creeks and pure water our bodies for immersion. However on Could 22, Union atmosphere minister Prakash Javadekar deferred the ban by a yr to assist artisans hit onerous by the Covid-19 pandemic.
An MPCB official stated they have been unaware of the company’s apply. “We’ll examine with our regional officer in regards to the challenge and primarily based on his response, observe up instructions will likely be issued to…”
Forest officers stated they might examine whether or not water air pollution was recorded put up immersions on the 1,690 hectare Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary. “If we discover remnants of any idols, we are going to take corrective motion. The matter will likely be anyway highlighted to different state our bodies to examine the apply,” stated Virendra Tiwari, extra principal chief conservator of forest (Mangrove Cell).