Updated: January 18, 2022 7:25:11 am
AFTER ARTISANS and Ganpati mandals sought clarity on the guidelines for use of POP (Plaster of Paris) in Ganpati idol making, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has sought suggestions from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) on alternatives for POP. The civic body has asked both agencies to submit a detailed study report on eco-friendly materials that can be used for idol making.
Idol makers and Ganpati mandals have maintained that with no other option, a complete ban on POPs will upend the lives of hundreds of idol makers in Mumbai as well as Maharashtra as Ganshotsav is a major festival in the state. Officials said that they will now wait for a report from MPCB and NEERI for further action or implementation on guidelines. Meanwhile, legal opinion will be sought from the law department.
This also means that there will be no ban on POP idols.
On Monday, a meeting was held between idol makers, associations of Ganpati mandals and BMC officials, and representatives of MPCB and NEERI, under the chairmanship of Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal, to discuss issues raised by idol makers and mandals based on guidelines by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Best of Express Premium
In May 2020, CPCB had issued detailed guidelines banning POP idols, which are said to be the cause of serious pollution of water bodies. However, the ban was postponed for one year after idol makers expressed fear of loss of livelihood due to it.
The CPCB had also listed detailed guidelines like registration of idol makers who make more than 100 idols in a day, visarjan charges etc.
“We are not against environment-friendly steps but the guidelines issued by CPCB on idol immersion have many ambiguities. A blanket ban on POP without alternatives is not going to happen. The experts and scientists should suggest ways of replacing harmful chemicals with eco-friendly materials. Clay is not a viable option as it takes a lot of time to dry and needs space during idol making. The former environment minister had formed a committee to find ways to replace toxic chemicals from POP with organic material, but the report is yet to be submitted,” said Naresh Dahibavkar, president of Brihanmumbai Sarvjanik Ganeshotsav Samanvya Samiti (BSGSS).
He added, “There are flaws in the guidelines. It says only registered idol makers can sell and make idols. But the registration condition is impractical as it says that only those will be registered who can make more than 100 idols in a day. There are no artisans in the city who make 100 idols in a single day. The logic of visarjan charges is also not clear.”
Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Bhide, who also attended the meeting, confirmed the development and said that they have asked for a report from MPCB on alternatives for POPs.
Along with CPCB, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court had also banned selling and making of POP idols due to its toxic impact on water bodies.
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.