Why do those who raise issue of water pollution during Ganesh festival, not dare to talk about massive water pollution caused daily by industrial waste?

Advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar

Now that the Ganesh festival is approaching, as usual the self-proclaimed reformers and their organisations who call themselves as environmentalists will start getting active. Some years ago these people had claimed that immersion of Ganesh Idols during the Ganesh festival is resulting in water pollution. Due to lack of education on Dharma and so-called forward-mindedness, several people fell prey to their tactics; however now these self-proclaimed social reformers and social workers are getting exposed. Proclaiming that the dyes used in painting the Idols are water pollutants, a fashion of immersing these Idols in artificial tanks, instead of lakes, rivers or creeks, or handing them over to the self-proclaimed reformers, has commenced. What happens to these Idols post donating, has anyone given attempted to witness it? Or is it that Hindu society is celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi simply as a fashion? The root question here is does water really get polluted by immersing Idols in it? How many Hindus have tried to verify this from the legal viewpoint and based on scientific deductions? Ganesh immersion which is going on for thousands of years has not caused any environmental damage however within a span of just a century science has brought about destruction of the environment. The system created by the Government to prevent water pollution is non-existent probably because officers appointed for this are unaware of their duties. See the examples cited further.

 

1. Sewage created, its treatment and disposal in the jurisdiction of Municipal Corporations and Municipal Councils

The Maharashtra Government has published a dashboard on quantities of sewage daily generated, its treatment and disposal in the jurisdictions of Municipal Corporations and Municipal Councils in February 2014. This will make it clear if the water pollution is occurring due to the Ganesh Idols or due to negligence of Government officials.

Jurisdiction Total sewage generated (litres) Untreated sewage released (litres)
1. Vasai-Virar (Municipal Corporation) 12 crore 20 lakh Released into a creek
2. Mira-Bhayandar (Municipal Council) 9 crore 30 lakh 5 crore 80 lakh released into a canal
3. Thane (Municipal Corporation) 35 crore 23 crore released into Thane creek
4. Bhiwandi-Nizampur (Municipal Corporation) 8 crore 40 lakh 6 crore 70 lakh released into River Kamavari
5. Kalyan-Dombivali (Municipal Corporation) 20 crore 17 crore released into River Ulhas
6. Ulhasnagar (Municipal Corporation) 9 crore 6 crore 20 lakh released into River Valdhuni
7. Bruhanmumbai (Municipal Corporation) 26 crore 7 lakh 6 crore 43 lakh released into Malad, Thane and Gorai creeks
8. Navi Mumbai (Municipal Corporation) 28 crore 5 crore released into a creek
9. Malegaon (Municipal Council) 2 crore 80 lakh Released through canals into River Girna
10. Nasik (Municipal Corporation) 28 crore 8 crore released into River Godavari and River Darana
11. Pimpri-Chinchwad (Municipal Corporation) 27 crore 80 lakh 15 crore 47 lakh released into River Pavana
12. Pune (Municipal Corporation) 74 crore 40 lakh 17 crore 70 lakh into Rivers Mula, Mutha and Ram
13. Sangli, Miraj, Kupwad (Municipal Corporation) 52 crore 50 lakh 16 crore 50 lakh released into River Krishna
14. Kolhapur (Municipal Corporation) 9 crore 60 lakh 5 crore 25 lakh released into River Panchaganga
15. Solapur (Municipal Corporation) 8 crore 2 crore 50 lakh released through canals into River Seena
16. Dhule (Municipal Council) 4 crore 80 lakh Released into River Panzhara
17. Jalgaon (Municipal Council) 4 crore 80 lakh Released into River Girna
18. Akola (Municipal Council) 4 crore 80 lakh Released into River Morna
19. Sambhajinagar (Municipal Corporation) 10 crore 70 lakh 9 crore 80 lakh released into River Sukhana and Dr. Salim Ali lake
20. Ahmednagar (Municipal Council) 6 crore Released into canals
21. Parbhani (Municipal Corporation) 1 crore Released into River Godavari
22. Latur (Municipal Council) 2 crore 40 lakh Released into River Manjara
23. Nanded-Vaghala (Municipal Corporation) 4 crore 80 lakh Released through canals into River Godavari
24. Amravati (Municipal Council) 6 crore 40 lakh 2 crore 84 lakh released through Amba Canal into River Peda
25. Nagpur (Municipal Corporation) 34 crore 50 lakh 26 crores released into River Nag

2. Destruction of life caused by discharge of sewage

If the sum total of above numbers is done then it becomes clear that daily 6 billion 21 crore 3 lakh litres of sewage gets generated out of which only 3 billion 63 crore 86 lakh litres is treated. Therefore everyday 2 billion 57 crore 17 lakh litres of sewage is released untreated into rivers or creeks. These figures are only for the urban areas. There is no machinery set up to measure these parameters in the rural areas. In the industrial units from Maharashtra chemical waste is released directly, without any treatment, into nearby rivers or creeks. Why the Government and self-proclaimed social reformers and environmentalists are turning blind to the destruction caused to the life of animals and plants by this sewage?

 

3. Shocking facts revealed through Right To Information

A reformer advocate from the group of self-proclaimed social reformers had proclaimed that when givng death penalty to someone, it should not be done silently. Both the victim and his family members must be apprised about it on humanitarian grounds. Then why is the same rule not applied to immersion of a Ganesh Idol? Shouldn’t these self-proclaimed social reformers reveal to the people, in advance, about what they plan to do with the Ganesh Idols donated to them? Some volunteers asked for information through RTI in this regard in various locations and the information obtained thereby was shocking.

A. A copy of minutes of a meeting of Mumbai Municipal Corporation was procured in which a Corporator had posed a query on the purpose of setting up artificial tank for immersion, if eventually all the mud remains from immersion of the Idols was to be released into the deep sea.

B. Information procured from Kolhapur revealed that the 2787 Idols immersed in the artificial tanks were then released into a quarry called Irani Crusher Quarry. Does this means that the clay from Ganesh Idols is used in landfills?

C. A shocking fact surfaced from the information obtained from the Pune City Municipal Corporation, Tilak Road section which makes the picture even clearer. No resolution was made in the meeting of the corporation, regarding where the Ganesh Idols would be immersed and no orders in that regard have been passed. The officials have given a clear answer to the question asked in RTI regarding what happens to the Ganesh Idols immersed in the artificial tanks, that some social organisations accepting Idols as donations plan their disposal through the medium of their organizations and Pune Municipal Corporation dispose mud remains from immersion of Idols in the artificial tank in various parks constructed by the Corporation.

It is needless to comment about the state of parks maintained by the Corporation. Spitting, urination and defecation are commonly carried out activities in the parks. Is the Government purposefully playing with the religious sentiments of Hindus by disposing the debris from Ganapati Idols in such places?

D. Based on the information gathered from the office of the Asst. Police Commissioner of Kondhava Vanvadi under Pune Municipal Corporation, no written copy of resolution passed during the Municipal Corporation meeting is available describing where the Ganesh Idols should be immersed. Also, neither the Commissioner nor Deputy Commissioner have passed any orders in this regard. Further, there is no record of the Idols immersed in the artificial tanks maintained.

E. Idols from artificial tanks in Pune, Kolhapur were transported in garbage trucks and disposed off in landfills or other places.

 

4. Society needs to be educated by putting forth facts depicting hatred to Dharma

This makes it clear that this conspiracy has been hatched by self-proclaimed social reformers, keeping Hindus completely in the dark, to crush their sentiments. To expose this, the facts have to be presented before the public. For this, every Hindu has to make efforts considering it as his duty. Various Ganesh mandals should be visited and they should be made aware of the facts. Since the Ganesh Idols from the mandals are usually huge, they will be immersed in the sea, however, the volunteers of the mandal and people in the surrounding areas should be educated and appealed to perform duty as defined by Dharma. This information should be imparted in temples, places where Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in groups and public places through banners putting forth facts on how the so-called reformers have been deceiving Hindus till now. We can create social awareness through posters, handouts and social networking websites such as WhatsApp and Facebook.

– Advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, National President, Hindu Vidhinya Parishad

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