To avoid gathering of crowds at ghats, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has appealed to residents to immerse their Ganesha idols at home. Taking a cue from the PMC’s appeal, local NGO GreenGrowth Group has implemented Nirmal Ganeshotsav 2020 initiative. The NGO has collaborated with the PMC to ensure streamlined distribution of ammonium bicarbonate at various idol shops in the city.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Yash Malwadkar, founder of Green Growth Group, said while they have carried out similar initiatives in the past, they felt with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic it was important to expand their work. “While the PMC has made arrangements for distribution of ammonium bicarbonate powder for safe immersion of Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols, our survey revealed that idol sellers were finding it hard to sell idols as there was no clarity on visarjan. We decided to help them by supplying the powder so that they can give it to customers along with idols. This also helps the PMC officials, who already have a lot on their plate with the rising Covid-19 cases in the city,” he said.
Malwadkar, along with his team of 20 volunteers, has distributed ammonium bicarbonate powder in Kasba Peth, Shaniwar Peth, Shukravar Peth, Narayan Peth, Sadashiv Peth, Navi Peth and Senadatta Peth.
A total of 2,000 kg of ammonium bicarbonate powder has been distributed and the NGO said that people participating in the Nirmal Ganeshotsav 2020 initiative will be given an e-certificate for conserving the environment. Others who pre-booked idols can get the powder by contacting the PMC. Furthermore, shopkeepers have maintained a record of sale of idols, which the PMC will access for the collection of residue.
Ammonium bicarbonate is an inorganic compound which when dissolved in water along with the idol made up of PoP, will give a residue of calcium carbonate (limestone) and ammonium sulphate. The latter, which is a common component of synthetic fertilisers can be used in gardens.
“This makes it easy for people to perform visarjan at their convenience on the first, third, fifth, seventh or the last day in their homes… While the ammonium sulphate can be used in gardens, the limestone will be collected by the PMC. This ensures not only a secure immersion but also it is a step towards environmental consciousness,” said Malwadkar.
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