Bappa gets eco-friendly adieu this year

Prajakta Joshi
Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Awareness amongst people to use eco-friendly immersion practices increasing

Pune: The city has always been a guiding light for the society and country as a whole. It did not let its fame down by showing the way of immersing Ganesh idols in immersion tanks and throwing the nirmalya in the designated Nirmalya Kalash (containers).
As the entire State bid adieu to their Lord Ganesh on Sunday (Anant Chaturdashi), several organisations, clubs and students volunteered at the immersion ghats across the city convincing people to immerse idols in immersion tanks and to throw nirmalya only in the designated Nirmalya Kalash.

“These days, more than 75 per cent of the devotees coming to the ghats do not need much convincing to practice eco-friendly ways of immersion. Many people voluntarily immerse idols in eco-friendly water tanks built on the ghats and also find the Nirmalya Kalash or our volunteers to give away the wet waste before visarjan,” said Darshana, a volunteer for SWaCH at the Siddheshwar Vruddheshwar ghat.

Like every year, this year, too, SWaCH had adopted 18 ghats across the city to divert nirmalya and dry waste (decoration, pooja items etc) from entering the river. The SWaCH members, staff and volunteers collected approximately 97 tonnes of wet nirmalya and over 24 tonnes of dry waste.

According to the data from Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), 2,38,464 idols were immersed in artificial immersion ponds and tanks across the city and 5,093 were immersed in the eco-ponds set up by Vodafone. A total of 676 tonnes of nirmalya was collected by the PMC in collaboration with SWaCH. The number of idols immersed in the tanks, as well as the amount of nirmalya collected in the city has seen a positive rise this year.

SWaCH, in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, ensured the immersion of 33,730 idols into tanks instead of the river. Volunteers and other activists agreed that with each passing year, the awareness in the public about following eco-friendly practices is increasing, as more and more people are now willingly cooperating with the volunteers.

Although, maximum people were said to be cooperating with the volunteers, Sakina Bookwala, a third-year student volunteer from College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP) said that she did encounter a few who were not ready to budge. She was a part of CoEP’s students’ club Spandan. Fourty members of the club participated in the drive to make people aware at immersion ghats on Sunday.

“We collected around 60 kg of nirmalya and apart from this, we talked to and convinced several people to follow eco-friendly practices. However, there were many who were not ready to listen to us at all, and despite all the efforts from our side, they immersed the idol in the river itself. However, the number of these people was very low. Maximum of them complied with the volunteers,” Sakina said.

Shailaja Deshpande of Jeevit Nadi, who is actively involved in river preservation on regular basis, said, “People these days are aware about conservation of the environment. With several years’ experience in doing this, the SWaCH team was very organised on Sunday. With active participation of more citizens, I am optimistic that we will be able to gradually keep our rivers clean.”

Employees of Cummins India Ltd, too, were seen standing with placards to have a ‘Green Ganesh Festivals’ at different ghats to create awareness amongst the people.

For the last three years, SWaCH has been converting the collected nirmalya into compost with the help of ‘GoVidnyan’ and distributing it to farmers. This time, 40 housing societies in the city, too, were approached for nirmalya collection.

Reverse preaching 
While organisations were striving hard to urge people to follow an eco-friendly immersion, the volunteers of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti were seen carrying out reverse preaching at the ghats. Holding placards and posters, they were trying to talk to the devotees out of immersing idols in ponds, saying that the propaganda was anti-Hindu. However, they weren’t getting much response from the people, as according to the figures, maximum people still chose to immerse idols in ponds and put nirmalya in nirmalya containers.

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