14 September 2018
Bhubaneswar: Starting from this Ganesh Chaturthi, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has constructed three separate ponds for immersion of the idols of gods and goddesses this Puja season so that people would use them to ensure minimal pollution to the water bodies and rivers in and around the Capital City.
The scientific immersion ponds have been constructed at Kuakhai Bridge near Pandra, near Tankapani Road and near Lingipur adjacent to Daya Bridge. According to City Engineer Debasundar Mohapatra, the ponds’ sizes would be need-based, now for Ganesh Puja they would be of smaller sizes and later for Durga Puja the sizes will be huge as the city would be hundreds of pandals during Puja.
Earlier the civic body was constructing temporary immersion ponds during Durga Puja, but from this year the ponds will cover all immersion activities like Ganesh Puja, Biswakarma Puja, Gajalaxmi Puja, Durga Puja, Kali Puja and up to Saraswati Puja in February next year. Organizers of various puja samitis in and around the city would be immersing their idols as per the rituals in these ponds.
As per specifications and guidelines the immersion ponds are made with a membrane insulated layer so that the toxic water after the immersion of idols would not be mixed up. After the layers are removed from the idols the water is treated with chemicals like bleaching powder and then the water is pumped out so that it does not get mixed up with the nearby river water.
Senior Environmental Scientist of Odisha State Pollution Control Board Dr. Dillip Behera said, "This effort is a welcome step towards keeping the river water away from polluting elements as the artificial chemicals could add to the miseries of the people staying downstream."
According to environmental experts, metal compounds like lead, cadmium, chromium and nickel are largely found in artificial colours and if idols in large numbers are immersed in the river water then they might result in carcinogenic or cancer causing toxicity in the water and affect people in the downstream.
Environmentalist Bijay Mishra said, "On the other hand, the bio-degradable substances like straw, paper and flowers will decompose in the water and the process will deplete the dissolved oxygen in the water. The depletion of oxygen in the river water will affect the oxygen supply for the aquatic animals and plants. The BMC effort will definitely help in better upkeep of water quality in the rivers."