Mumbai: You can call it the Corona effect. Mumbai's coastline, water bodies and overall ecology remained less polluted this year during Ganpati immersions. Due to the curbs in Ganpati celebrations, the solid waste recovered from the city's water bodies this year is one-fourth of what it was last year during the same period.
The BMC stated that after the fifth day of Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations this year, the civic body collected 1.30 lakh kg solid waste from the water bodies of the city. Last year, it collected 4.47 lakh kg waste.
To prevent overcrowding along the coastline, BMC had set up 167 artificial ponds in the 24 wards. Of the total idols immersed this year in the first five days, 55 per cent of the immersions took place in the artificial ponds.
"Due to the pandemic, people immersed the idols in artificial ponds instead of the sea. The reason why the pollution in the sea is less," said Ashok Yamgar, BMC chief engineer, solid waste management.
"This can be taken as an example. The BMC can increase the number of artificial ponds in the city so that the water bodies aren't polluted," Yamgar said.
Also, a majority of the people chose to buy eco-friendly Ganpati idols this year.
The BMC's garden cell plans to recycle the waste by using the melted clay of the idols as manure in garden development. “Instead of dumping the idols, we will use the clay in the process of planting or manure," said an official of the garden cell.
Green activists have applauded the usage of artificial ponds. “The low collection of solid wastes is commendable. We can practise religious customs without harming the environment," said Zoru Bhathena, a green activist.
“Every housing society can have their own artificial pond henceforth. Instead of soiling the sea, one can immerse the idols in their own premises and use the clay for gardening," said Chinu Kwatra, founding member, 'Beachwarriors'.