Environmentalists say PoP Ganesh idols do not pollute river
Environmentalists in the city have just broken a common myth. According to them, Ganesh idols made from plaster of Paris (PoP) are not harmful to the environment. In fact, they said PoP was eco-friendly.
"There is no pollution in Mutha river due to immersion of Ganesh idols according to a report compiled by Eco Srusti Lab and Air Quality Management Cell. Even Maharashtra Pollution Control Board does not say that idol immersion causes pollution in the river," said Sandeep Joshi, an environmentalist. "PoP idols in the Mutha river constitute less than one per cent of the 15 tonnes of sewage left in the river everyday. About 60,000 Ganpati idols weighing 1.5 tonnes are immersed in the Mutha river during the Ganpati Utsav."
Another environmentalist Amit Nargolkar said idols should be immersed in the river instead of municipal tanks. "Calcium sulphate in the plaster of paris is non-toxic and is useful for cleaning water and making the soil fertile. Like PoP, Shadu (white soil) idol is also eco-friendly and does not pollute the river. PoP idols do not dissolve in a tub or stagnant water, but results have shown it is easily dissolved in flowing water," Nargolkar said.
Supporting the views of the environmentalists, Vikas Bhise, a chemical analyst, said POP was not harmful.
Samir Nikam, an environmental activist from Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, said the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) was not immersing the idols in a proper manner. "In the past years, the contract was given to a private party but the idols were just thrown in the Mula Mutha Sangam area. Many idols were buried in the Katraj Lake area. This year the PMC has not given any directions regarding the immersion of idols," said Nikam.
Dr P P Moghe, a chemical expert, however, objected to the use of PoP and said more research should be done on the use of PoP.