Mumbai: Immersion of PoP idols has raised pollution to alarming levels

High Court told that large water bodies made for the supply of drinking water have become toxic due to sedimentation

Rebello Dominic Narsi BenwalUpdated: Friday, September 03, 2021, 12:13 AM IST
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The Bombay High Court was on Tuesday informed that the pollution caused by the immersion of Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols into water bodies has reached an alarming level. The court has now ordered both the state and the Central governments to clarify their stand on the issue.

The bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilor at the Nagpur seat was hearing a PIL it took up suo motu last week over the pollution in water bodies due to the immersion of PoP idols.

The bench heard the submissions of advocate S P Bhandarkar, who was appointed as the amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist in the matter.

In his submissions, Bhandarkar said, “The pollution caused by PoP idols has now reached an alarming proportion, so much so that large water bodies, which are made for the supply of drinking water, have become toxic due to sedimentation.” The amicus added that the chemicals released from the PoP idols and the synthetic paints used for colouring have also polluted the water bodies.

Bhandarkar further stated that the Central Pollution Control Board guidelines issued on May 12, 2020 (Guidelines 2020) have clearly imposed a ban on PoP idols, but it is not being implemented by several civic bodies and different towns and villages in Maharashtra.

Bhandarkar said there are some corporations that have imposed a complete ban on the use of PoP idols for any religious purpose, but there are others that have not imposed the ban or imposed the ban only on Ganesh idols made up of PoP and not on PoP idols of Radhakrishna.

During the hearing, Bhandarkar cited a recent order of the National Green Tribunal (Kolkata bench). “In this order, the NGT bench has observed that as per the Guidelines 2020, which are exhaustive, immersion of PoP idols is prohibited and it’s necessary that these guidelines are implemented effectively,” he pointed out.

The amicus submitted, “Thus, it is necessary that the state, as well as local bodies, are called upon to immediately frame appropriate regulations.”

Having heard his submissions at length, the bench issued notices to the Maharashtra government as well as the Union ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, to clarify their stand on the issue. The bench would hear the matter again after two weeks.

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