Pune: The National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) had invented a remedy to tackle the harmful effects of Plaster of Paris (PoP) on the environment during the Ganesh festival. They had suggested to the civic body to do a scientific disintegration of Plaster of Paris (PoP) Ganesh idols in the solution of ammonium bicarbonate and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has been putting into practice the method every year during the Ganesh festival. Now, the Science and Technology Park (STP) located in the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) campus has come forward to help the corporation and has given a proposal to reuse the PoP idols.
According to a proposal by STP, it is estimated that during the Ganesh festival, more than 600 tonnes of PoP is used for such purpose and it causes a lot of water pollution.
Generally, the used PoP cannot be put to any useful purpose and hence it poses a problem for waste disposal. During the use of PoP, a large quantity of water is added to the PoP powder to harden it, which cannot be reused. So STP has developed a systematic process by using specific thermal treatment in which the hardened PoP can be converted into original PoP powder. This PoP can be rescued in the same way as the original material. The process can be repeated several times without loss of any mechanical or adhesive properties.
Now, STP proposes that the process should be utilised during the Ganesh festival where a lot of PoP is used to make idols. The process should be supported by the civic body authorities with acceptance of local NGOs and Ganesh mandals.
STP wants to conduct a trial on about 30 tonnes of used PoP and the process can then be suitably scaled up for a plant for treating about 100 tonnes per month. The primary objective of the proposal is to showcase and implement the technology developed by SPPU for better waste management of PoP. It can be converted into the most cost-effective and economically feasible process.
STP wants financial support, space and machinery to conduct the process on a large scale. They had conducted a trial on one tonne of PoP in the last year and it was successful. STP wants the corporation to take responsibility for collection and delivery of the collected PoP to the site of recycling. While the corporation has estimated Rs 15 lakh for the recycling process of PoP.
While speaking to Sakal Times, Suresh Jagtap, Head of Solid Waste Management Department of the corporation, said, “We have received a proposal from the Science and Technology Park and we are going to arrange a meeting soon and discuss in detail the process and after that, we will take a decision on the proposal.”