BBMP bans idol immersion in lakes

People can use buckets at home or the mobile idol immersion tankers

In a move that will bring some cheer to conservation activists, the civic body has announced that there will be a ban on the immersion of Ganesha idols in lakes this year.

All idols installed at homes cannot be taller than 2ft. People can either immerse them in buckets at home or in mobile idol immersion tankers only, said Chief Civic Commissioner Gaurav Gupta on Tuesday.

Each ward will be assigned a mobile idol immersion tanker to only immerse idols installed at homes. BBMP officials will use public address systems to inform the public of the time and the place where the service can be availed within the ward.

Even idols installed at public places and temples must be immersed in mobile tankers only as far as possible.

But artificial immersion ponds will also be created for larger idols at select places across the city, where immersion will take place with a minimum number of people with no processions, Mr. Gupta said.

Citizens who have been campaigning for an eco-friendly Ganesh Chathurthi said that these measures should be in place permanently and not just a precautionary measure against COVID-19. The city’s lakes have been taking the brunt of idol immersion.

Prior to the pandemic, nearly 1 lakh idols were immersed in lakes, many of them made of plaster of Paris, causing damage to the lake ecosystems.

For instance, in 2019, around 24 lakes were identified for idol immersion, while in the previous year, people could immerse idols in 35 lakes. Recently, the BBMP had taken to creating artificial ponds or kalyanis at these lakes in an effort to protect the lakes from the adverse impact. “The pandemic has muted celebrations in the city and this has an unintended positive impact on the city’s lake ecosystem, like lockdown had on pollution levels in the city,” said a senior civic official.

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