September 18, 1999
PUNE, Sept 17: Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (Superstitions Eradication Committee) recently appealed to people and workers of Ganesh mandals in the State not to immerse Ganesh idols and the nirmalya (flowers used in worship) in rivers or lake in order to avoid water pollution. The committee urged people to donate the idols to its activists after the religious rites are over.
Dr Narendra Dabholkar, working president of the committee, said that large-scale immersion of Ganesh idols and used flowers in rivers, lakes and wells led to water pollution in the State.
Five years ago, the Kolhapur branch of the committee had launched a drive to persuade people to dispose the nirmalya on the banks of the Panchganga river, instead of immersing it in the river. The committee had involved Kolhapur Municipal Corporation, teachers and citizens to convince the people of the need to avoid immersion of idols and the nirmalya in rivers or lakes. The drive was later started in other parts of the State as well. Dr Dabholkar has said that people had responded well to the drive and the collection of nirmlaya at many places was five to six trolleys.
Last year, the committee, with the help of schools and the local village panchayat, had persuaded 500 residents of Kalamba near Kolhapur not to immerse the idols in Kalamba lake. The idols collected from people were immersed in a well which was not in use. The people who drank the water of the lake had appreciated the drive, Dr Dabholkar said.
Dr Dabholkar appealed to individuals and social organisations in the State to offer their cooperation to make the drive a success.
Dr Dabholkar said that people could perform the religious rites of immersing the Ganesh idols but later instead of releasing the idol into the water, they should hand over the idols to the committee’s volunteers. The options offered by the committee to people to avoid water pollution include choosing small sized idols and using eco-friendly vegetable dyes.
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