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Ganesha idols littered across Yamuna: NGT notice to Delhi government

Thousands of broken or semi-dissolved idols of Ganesha made of plaster of paris and coated with toxic chemicals such as mercury, cadmium, lead, and carbon were immersed in the Yamuna on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi which commenced late last month.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: September 20, 2017 6:44 pm
Ganesh idol, idol immersion, NGT, national green tribunal, delhi government, environment violations, Arvind Kejriwal, AAP government, India News, Indian Express An Indian volunteer jumps to immerse an idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha in the river. (Source: AP)

Troubled by the unedifying spectacle of hundreds of Ganesha idols littering the Yamuna, the National Green Tribunal today sought the responses from the Delhi government and others on the issue.

A plea highlighting the plight of the river which has been almost completely choked due to the immersion of idols during the festivals prompted the NGT action. Thousands of broken or semi-dissolved idols of Ganesha (the elephant god) made of plaster of paris and coated with toxic chemicals such as mercury, cadmium, lead, and carbon were immersed in the Yamuna on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi which commenced late last month.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the AAP government, Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Development Authority and others while asking them to file an action taken reports after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Advocate Sanjay Upadhyaya, appearing for the petitioner in the case, said that despite Central Pollution Control Board 2010 Guidelines on idol immersion and the specific ban by the tribunal on immersion of non-biodegradable idols, there has been a complete failure on part of the authorities.

The green panel was hearing a plea filed by environment activist Akash Vashishta seeking directions to immediately take steps to clean up the banks of the river which is completely choked with waste dumped in it. Referring to a media report, the plea said due to the immersion of idols and ‘pooja’ material, the river has virtually turned into a drain. The biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the river, a measure of organic pollution, has reached “dangerously high levels” during Ganesh Chaturthi, the plea said.

“It is humbly submitted that the river is already dying a slow death and the continuous and unabated immersion of idol into the river, causing complete choking of the river turning it into virtual dump yards of waste,” the plea, filed through advocate Upama Bhattacharjee, said. It has sought directions to completely prohibit dumping of waste and an action plan with respect to dealing with idol immersion in the light of the forthcoming Durga Puja festival in the entire NCR region.

The tribunal in 2015 had passed a slew of directions to prevent pollution of the Yamuna, including a ban on immersion of idols except those made from the bio-degradable material. “Idol immersion should be allowed only of the ones which are made from biodegradable material and not plastic/plaster of Paris. Only those colours should be used on the idols which are environment-friendly,” the bench had then said.

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  1. A
    All India Bakchod
    Sep 20, 2017 at 11:44 pm
    NGT walon ko aur koi kaam nehi hai, bas yahi sab karte rhete hain
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    1. Mittu Hashimoto
      Sep 20, 2017 at 10:35 pm
      What will NGT do with this when public itself doesn't want to follow rules. At so many places where yamuna flows it's mentioned Rs 5000 fine for dropping anything. But irony is I've seen police littering there as well.
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      1. B
        BAAP
        Sep 20, 2017 at 7:49 pm
        Look at this nuisance and people have problem with AZAAN that does not last for more than 5 min and does not create pollution.
        (2)(1)
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        1. B
          BAAP
          Sep 20, 2017 at 7:46 pm
          How can you immerse your GOD in the same water where you bath, peee and t. The lord deserves a graceful end.
          (3)(1)
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          1. A
            All India Bakchod
            Sep 20, 2017 at 11:48 pm
            You must be a mozlem to understand Hindu rituals, for the uninitiated: after Visarjan Mantra, Idols of God have no Godly power in them, which was invited by Avahana mantra. So, shut the f_u.c_k up and grow an intellect.
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