Mumbai: In a first, the Aarey Milk Colony has imposed a ban on Ganesha idol immersion at Aarey talao this year. Around 1,000 household and public Ganesh idols from Goregaon, Jogeshwari, and Borivali are immersed in Aarey talao every year. This year, the city’s environmentalists took a stand and opposed the immersion of idols in Aarey’s water bodies, citing that not only does it pollute natural resources but can be detrimental to wildlife due to the loudspeakers present in the processions.
NGO: Aarey Milk Colony area falls inside ESZ
The director of NGO Vanashakti, in a letter to Aarey Milk Colony, wrote, “The entire Aarey Milk Colony area falls inside the Environmentally Sensitive Zone (ESZ), and all activities are regulated or prohibited. We are concerned about the pollution caused every year to the lakes, ponds, and waterbodies inside the ESZ. The Chhota Kashmir Lake, the Picnic Point Lake, and the small pond behind the Picnic Point garden are all perennial natural water bodies inside the ESZ. During the Ganeshotsav festival, hundreds of idols are brought in from all over the city and immersed inside these water bodies. The lakes are getting silted up, polluted by the plaster of Paris and the paints used in the idols. This is detrimental to the aquatic life in the water bodies,” he wrote. He further added about the negative impact of the loudspeakers and sound systems used by DJs to the wildlife.
With this ban, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) now faces a challenge of making alternate arrangements for the thousands of idols, especially 350 Sarvajanik (public) idols, immersed in the water bodies inside Aarey. Their request to remove the ban was denied on Tuesday, where the chief executive officer of Aarey Milk Colony, Balasaheb Wakchaure, said, “As per the government notification, the entire area of Aarey Dairy Farm has been declared as an ESZ. We have already made it clear to the BMC, we cannot permit immersion of idols in Aarey talao."
Rajesh Akre, assistant municipal commissioner of P South ward said, “We were hoping that they would consider our request, if they could allow us immersion of idols for this year, as it will be difficult to make arrangements for Sarvajanik idols in a short time. However, they are firm on their decision, so we will now have to create an artificial pond outside Aarey Colony where household Ganesh idols can be immersed. The biggest problem will be making alternate arrangements for Sarvajanik Ganesh idols.”
Civic officials stated that the public Ganesh mandals must now opt for immersion at Shantaram Talao in Malad, Juhu beach, or Marve.